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The Most Undervalued Analytics Tool: Communication

by Michele Kiss  |  
May 24, 2012

In this article, you'll learn...

  • Why good communication is critical to analytics
  • Five ways analysts can enhance communication within their teams

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.

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Michele Kiss is a self-admitted analytics geek. She is director of digital analytics at Red Door Interactive, where she leads a team of analysts to produce actionable insights and recommendations to optimize clients' online initiatives. You can contact her via or follow her at @michelejkiss.

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  • by @jenkellyjen Thu May 24, 2012 via web

    Thanks for the reminder that "old-fashioned" talking is so important. Also - great idea about the 'expos' between departments. I look forward to your remaining 3-part series.

  • by Melonie Dodaro Tue May 29, 2012 via web

    This are often overlooked points, thanks for reminding. No one can really undermine the power of communication. Itís really very important that everybody within the business is aligned to its goals and perspective.

  • by Michele Kiss Fri Jun 8, 2012 via web

    Thanks Jen and Melonie. I agree, it's so important, and so easily overlooked. Glad I could share a little!

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