Who cares about Business Analytics?
From a best or leading practice point of view, IT teams view business analytics as strategic. They play a critical role in enabling the success of the firm by helping achieve strategic goals and initiatives. In less forward-looking firms, it is viewed less enthusiastically.
I can understand this question in 2 different ways:
How IT departments consider BUSINESS analytics (i.e. systems and applications implemented to monitor company's BUSINESS performance): this was the way I firstly interpreted the question and my personal opinion is that often business analytics project are lost opportunities to raise IT perception and role perception in the company: users are always hungry for numbers and if they don't have them they tend to produce them using whichever information they may extract from legacy systems, creating unnecessary manual work, mistakes and misinterpretation. For this reason in my experience IT departments able to provide high quality data used to make decisions are quite popular between their users. Unfortunately many IT departments may consider business analytics unnecessary and 'luxury' investments generated by users' illusions and philosophical theories ...
How IT departments consider IT analytics (i.e. systems and applications implemented to monitor company's IT performance): thanks to the rise of frameworks like COBIT and ITIL, IT measurement systems are gaining popularity between CIOs, for at least 4 reasons: 1) need for control of cost and performance 2) need for control of projects 3) need for control of investments 4) need for communicating IT concrete and objective results to top management reducing the space for user's nasty comments.
"Who cares about Business Analytics?" was the headline. I ask: Whoe doesn't care? Caring is not the question so much as understanding the purpose. Everybody in the business (and, yes, I include IT as part of "the business") should care about analytics. But not as an end unto itself. Analytics is a purposeful exercise to discover the opportunities to drive business value. IT teams building analytic capabilities should be asking:
- What are the desired business outcomes?
- What decisions and actions will drive those outcomes?
- What information does one need to determine decisions and actions?
- What is the best way to present such information?
Any team focused on these objectives will keep shareholders happy because they are about driving value.
Now, there is an element of analytics that isn't so straightforward. Namely, data discovery, advanced analytics, and data science may not entirely know what problems they are looking to solve. But this tends to be a smaller and more highly skilled part of the organization. Nevertheless, this needs to be a purpose driven activity that, even though the decisions and actions are unknown, still strives to discover the best options for imrpoving top and/or bottom line results and/or managing risk.
Business Analytics (BA) is business requirement and IT as Service dept to the business of the company need to serve it so, if IT team does not care for it than they will miss it's SLA with business team to setup IT.
Most of the IT team who believe in making each dollar spend on IT to deliver business takes BA investment also seriousily as stake's are high. Touch points in terms of BA consuming and churning those heavy data sets of business comes from various business application again which are managed by IT.
If IT fails to give the data, ensure it's availability to the BA platform, strgith it goes as RED flag to IT's performance and it's failure will be visible as BA and it's various dashboard of business KPI will be displayed from lowest level to board level ( some times to the Investors and analyst -market level).
As you can see BA platform has direct users from Top management, board level as well as public filling ( Investors and Analysts - read Wall Street Pandits) and such projects at implementation, operation level are not taken care can jeopardise company image and IT team capabilities to highest level.
IT team will be internal key stake holder to ensure BA services are delivered as per business team expectation by owning it with reports at all level for BA's success and performance.
There is another advantage BA can give to IT team to manage it's own IT system and it's key performance parameters by churning system logs, transactions, system alerts for areas such as helpdesk, IT security thus sometime IT team themselves are also end users for BA technology.