More Business Units Want Their Own Analytics Talent

More and more, we hear that technology tasks are moving outside of the traditional IT department, with business units relying on embedded expertise to handle their unique technology needs.

Data AnalysisHere’s another example of the trend: More non-technical departments are developing their own analytics strategies and kicking off projects with their own resources rather than relying on a central IT function. In part, that’s because business leaders often see the technology group as a stumbling block as opposed to a resource. Not surprisingly, tech managers take a different view.

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In a survey by researcher IDC, 38 percent of business managers, IT managers, data analysts and executives said most of their analytics staff work in a centralized group that resides outside of IT. About 20 percent said that the analytics group determines their unit’s overall strategy.

Nearly 40 percent of IT managers said their department was the driver of analytics efforts. But only a quarter of business managers think technology is the appropriate group to do that. And while 65 percent of IT managers were satisfied or very satisfied with the approaches and resources they’ve dedicated to analytics projects, only 57 percent of business leaders agreed. Also, business managers were less likely to say they’re happy with existing IT/business unit relationships.

Business groups “are getting more authority to go outside of IT and enable their own analytics platforms,” said Pamela Prentice, chief research officer at SAS Institute, which commissioned the survey.

Business managers do see a dedicated role for IT, though: They want it to be responsible for providing high-quality data. Prentice said that provides those departments with the opportunity to take control of the data itself and make it available in more usable forms.

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Comments

  1. BY Fred Bosick says:

    “And while 65 percent of IT managers were satisfied or very satisfied with the approaches and resources they’ve dedicated to analytics projects, only 57 percent of business leaders agreed. Also, business managers were less likely to say they’re happy with existing IT/business unit relationships.”

    Could it be because business has steadily removed the resources IT has needed for years, calling it a cost center? If “business managers” get their way to build custom pet IT departments, they’ll spend more than if centralized IT got what it needed in the first place, and get poorer results.

    “It’s OK. MY own IT department is run by an MBA addled execudroid. What could possibly go wrong?”

  2. BY John Hasley says:

    There are two types of problems in this world: my problems and someone else’s problems. If the doctor says to me that I have cancer, I would be devastated; if I mention that to you, you may be concerned and honestly express your best wishes, but in the end it would be my problem. When the work moves from the IT department to a business center, it ceases to be the IT department’s problems and resources to handle that, and moves to that business center: whether HR or advertising, or something else. Yes, there may be a lot of duplication in development and other problems with dividing up the work, but the problem starts most likely with a misunderstanding on the part of the IT department that what the business unit considers a major problem is not considered a big enough problem by IT. If the problem is big enough for the unit to commit its own resources, it’s probably big enough to take $10,000 from the, say, marketing budget and move it to IT to support the marketing work. If IT isn’t willing to consider that possibility, that’s IT’s fault. Because any manager has the responsibility to consider whether a problem for a unit is a problem for the company as a whole, and to evaluate it as such. Sometimes the decision gets made that a particular problem isn’t as big as other issues, but management has the responsibility to consider the arguments and make the decisions. And to communicate those decisions so that those who lose out on the argument know why they lost the argument and (hopefully, we’re all adults) accept that decision and can deal with it, which includes the possibility of coming up with the needed funds from internal sources. My first web site had a zero dollar budget, in part because I had no funds even before I started beginning lectures with “this is the World-Wide Web”. After I got that running (and its replacement, also for no money) I started getting support, and the oversight that goes with it (thanks, Deb, who was quite nice about that work).

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