We’re living in an era in which nearly every company — big or small and across all industries — is now a de facto tech company. All companies are incorporating the latest emerging technologies, advanced analytics solutions, progressive methodologies, and collaboration models to work smarter, better, and more innovatively. Whether you support the “business side” (e.g. Marketing, Sales, HR, Operations) or the “tech side” (e.g., IT, PMO, Product), everyone is now expected to operate through a lens of agility, nimbleness, and digital-first.
Business leaders need to be baseline technologists. Technologists need to think like business leaders. And the age-old chasm that has long separated these two sides needs to be mended once and for all. We are more than a decade into the era of digital transformation. The questions remain…
Have we come far enough? Is business/tech alignment vastly better, stronger and delivering value at an acceptable pace? Or do we still have a ways to go?
I think the answer falls somewhere in between. But fortunately, the thing that can bridge the business and tech side once and for all is sitting right in front of us…
Before we dive into the power advanced analytics holds as the bridge, let’s take a quick look at why this bridge is still needed.
Methodologies as the Bridge
There have been great strides taken to move the needle toward bringing business and tech together. Two methodologies in particular — Agile and DevOps — have become fundamental operating models that allows both sides to co-exist in a way they never have before. Let’s take a quick look at each and what they’ve done to jumpstart stronger connection.
Agile Says the Biz Matters
The introduction of Agile — an approach to project delivery (typically software) — fundamentally created an iterative working cadence within business. Through this methodology, business leaders could meet with their tech teams regularly, describe the use cases they were hoping to realize with new software rollout, and no longer have to wait months — or years — to start seeing how the tech team took their feedback and turned it into product.
Instead, the teams would meet regularly (often in two-week sprints) to demo, review, and test software in real-time. This created an open ground for the business and tech teams to talk about what was working well, what needed to be changed, and how ultimately the software was meeting the needs of the business.
As a result, the business/IT gap began to close.
The DevOps Story
At the same time Agile starting improving the bridge, the concept of DevOps took off, which now focused on moving software from test to production to release faster. One of the core ways DevOps did this was by breaking down the walls that once existed between IT, Operations, and the business.
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The core value of DevOps is to create continuous feedback between the business and tech side so that communication becomes a continuum. By reducing organizational silos, DevOps supported in the creation of new communication flows, feedback-informed decisions, and even increased cross-departmental morale. The business side could see the impact of their feedback to the tech teams in real time, and a positive user experience grew.
A Start, But Not Enough
As important as these methodologies have been in building stronger business-tech alignment, they haven’t taken us all the way.
Agile has been rife with challenges, from a lack of organizational-wide adoption to start-and-stop fits to slow adoption of collaboration workflows. Just consider an industry study conducted pre-pandemic that examined data from a pool of more than 150,000 projects and nearly 50,000 Agile Teams. The analysis uncovered key findings across four traditional KPI dimensions:
- Productivity was 60% better
- Predictability was 40% better
- Responsiveness was 60% better
- Quality (measured in # of defects) saw steep declines in defect density
By any standard these metrics represent PROGRESS. And yet, they are still not enough. A singular shift towards Agile thinking was actually just foundational in the historical sense. The pace of change today requires more than just baseline KPI improvement. It requires a completely different approach to how we lean on data to tell us what’s working and what’s not.
We’ve hit a similar challenge with DevOps. A 2021 Benchmark Study that examined the State of DevOps at a macro level revealed that the speed of getting quality code out the door expediently is still far too slow given today’s world. The study showed that a number of companies still deploy software code monthly — not weekly — which means there are still bottlenecks happening in terms of how the business and tech side are working collaboratively together.
We’ve made considerable progress, but Advanced Analytics is what can bring the true connection/partnership together. Let’s dive into how.
The True Bridge: Advanced Analytics
Big data, DataOps, and business intelligence teams have undoubtedly helped organizations harness, visualize, and turn data into insights. And this is hugely valuable when we consider just how overwhelming it can be to make sense of the data that sits within our walls.
For context, consider this… 2.5 quintillion bytes of data is created every day. What’s more, it’s estimated that 90% of the world’s data has been created in the last two years alone, and it is expected that the volume of data is to double every two years.
But fortunately, we are in the era of next-gen Advanced Analytics. We have more tools, capabilities, and strategies at our disposal to ensure that we are not only able to access our data, but to use it in ways we previously never imagined.
Advanced Analytics is the bridge builder between the business and tech sides. The connector that enables each to have greater impact on the business, and the connector that each side needs to understand and leverage with great intention.
Thanks to the proliferation of machine learning (ML), artificial intelligence (AL), predictive intelligence, natural language processing (NLP), and more, we are in a position to leverage data to build modern strategies, strengthen decision making, and bridge the points at which the business and tech worlds intersect. Consider the business and tech side coming together to decide how to:
- Build next-level customer personalization journeys powered by AI, ML and NLP
- Uncover algorithmic bias and inequity in hiring processes
- Drive efficiency and process gains by adopting a DataOps mindset and harnessing cross-enterprise data
- Elevate new KPIs that have not yet been elevated across the business
- Automate customer service level activities to free service reps to focus on more business-driving initiatives
The tech and business side need each other in each scenario. Each side has something equally valuable that the other needs. The business side holds the vision of what can be. The tech side holds the implementation for turning the vision into reality through the application of advanced analytics.
And through partnership and collaboration, each can drive greater influence within the organization by coming together to leverage advanced analytics as a core business enabler.