Performance Improvement

July 08, 2021

Why Your Data Analytics Projects Need an Executive Sponsor

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Most companies have a startling 85% chance of data analytics projects failing – don’t worry, this is not our client’s experience! A major contributor to that high of a failure rate though, is having either an ineffective executive sponsor assigned to your analytics project, or not having an executive sponsor at all. In this post, we’ll discuss the top 3 ways an engaged and data-savvy executive sponsor can impact your data analytics projects.

Communication From the Top-down

In a 2018 study done by Prosci, 10 out of 10 times, effective sponsorship was identified as the top contributor to success. The executive sponsor keeps communication flowing consistently from the top down to the project team. They have both their eyes and ears on the project, as well as what’s happening at the executive level in an organization and are in the best position to keep the project team up to date with any changes or potential issues the team may not see themselves.

Poor communication (29%) is listed as one of the top 5 causes of project failure. This means that your chances of implementing a successful business intelligence project increases considerably if you have effective communication. Regular communication to the project team on goals, priorities, decisions, and risks is needed for a variety of reasons. These include ensuring risk mitigation strategies are appropriately developed, keeping the team on track & focused on the project’s goals, and lastly but probably most importantly, making sure the team feels involved and knows exactly how they’re making an impact to your company. Employee happiness is no joke. It’s clear that effective communication is fundamental in a project and why an executive sponsor is the best fit for such an important job.

Proper Resource Allocation = Project Success

Generally, an executive sponsor will have final sign-off before the project kicks off, to ensure resources are appropriately committed for the duration of the project. They can then pull in the necessary subject matter experts and other resources to get the business intelligence project completed. Effective executive sponsors have keen knowledge and are the brains of the inner workings in an organization’s business – so are in a perfect position to know what’s needed for success. They are also the true owner of a project, so no matter the result (success or failure) the executive sponsor is solely responsible, holding them more accountable to the business outcome.

As project sponsors are often at, or just below, executive level in an organization, they are also better able to gain buy-in from their colleagues and can use their influence to safeguard the right resources for a project’s success. Managers and staff often don’t have the influence on others that someone at an executive level would. Executive sponsors are relied upon to set the project up for success at a high level where most others don’t often have the same type of effect. We’ve all been there or have even just witnessed the detrimental effect it can have on a project when it gets off on the wrong foot. Being able to assign blame for a project’s eventual failure at the kick-off meeting is never a good thing. That’s why setting up your data analytics projects for success is a huge valuable first step and an effective executive sponsor can help you with that.

“Give Me a D – A – T – A!”

As with any project, people should understand their roles and responsibilities. With data analytics projects, their role often includes additional responsibilities, such as being a champion for data and embracing a data-driven culture. Basically, they need to always sport the obnoxious foam hand and be data’s biggest and loudest fan. They need to value and appreciate how data can systematically and methodically influence business decisions, and effectively communicate to others the positive effect data can have on an organization’s bottom line and top dollar.

If your company doesn’t already embody a data-forward culture, your executive sponsor can help influence others within the company to change an employee’s perception and attitude around this, essentially being a cheerleader for data and teaching people to trust their data.

Data savvy businesses are 162% more likely to have significantly surpassed their revenue goals when compared to their “laggard” counterparts. Incorporating a data-forward culture is imperative if you want to stay ahead of your competition. It’s not as easy as stealing candy from a baby, not that we would ever do that of course. You need an executive sponsor who can comfortably and confidently demonstrate what data can do for an organization so they can effectively promote the project and aid in a successful implementation of a business analytics solution.

We hope you can now understand better why having an executive sponsor for your data analytics projects is important, not only for their success but also for your company’s future. As more and more organizations rely on data & business analytics to guide their critical business decisions, you must too. That’s why BT Partners offers Domo, a software that connects to any source so you can transform your data into numbers you understand and can confidently make informed business decisions from.

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