Recently, someone asked what I thought the most undervalued tool in analytics was. Perhaps she expected me to respond with a specific solution that didn't have the recognition it deserved, or a new gem that I'd found. However, after pondering the question, I realized that what is most undervalued is not a tool; rather, it's communication.
All too often, companies struggle to realize the impact of analytics, and they place the blame on the solutions they have in place. Companies can easily be swayed by shiny dashboards and talk of "seamless integration," and they assume that a new solution will cure all their ills.
However, if new (and often expensive) solutions are being layered on top of fundamental flaws in communication, you'll fail to see the value of those investments. Moreover, although companies are often willing to drop some serious cash to bring in that new miracle vendor, similar investments are rarely made with the intent of improving communication within and between departments.
The following is part one of a three-part series that will examine how people can communicate better with their team, with other departments, with executives, and with external partners.
Part 1: Communicating With Your Team
Often, analytics teams struggle to communicate even within their group. The communication problem may be a result of the organizational structure, such as decentralized analysts across an organization—or conflicting personality types.
Failure to communicate within a team can lead to inconsistent methodology among analysts, as well as duplication of work. For example, two stakeholders may approach two analysts for the same report or analysis. A failure to communicate may not only result in a waste of resources but also cause duplicate analyses with different results because of an inconsistent methodology. That procedural blunder typically wastes further resources to determine which information is accurate and to uncover why the data differ.
Here are five tips analysts should keep in mind when working in a team environment.