In digital business analytics, only delivering insight at the point of action matters. Did your customer get the right information, in context, at her moment of need? Did your firm use that engagement to make the right offer and up sell? Do your sales or call center reps have the insight they need to set priorities or meet customers needs efficiently? Talk of big data, advanced analytics, and agile BI is all about turning data into insight. But that is only part of the solution. How is your firm systematically testing insights and finding those that matter? How are you embedding insights in the software that your customers and employees use to engage? Are you even thinking about how to tap all the data that results from that engagement to find out what worked and what didn’t?

If you are not addressing all of these holistically, then Hadoop and that shiny new predictive analytics or streaming tool that sit on it are going to leave your business wanting. Don’t get caught in the trap.

My colleague Ted Schadler and I spent a year researching what it really takes to be successful; we found many companies drowning in data and starving for insight that made a difference. But a few leaders were working at the beginnings of closed loop systems to: 1) discover the insights that matter most; 2) embed them into the software their customers and employees use to engage; and 3) continuously measure and learn from the results.

We call these “systems of insight” and believe they will be the engines that power the digital business of the future.

We think a system of insight is equal parts people, process, and technology. To date, vendors have driven the conversation toward the technology. To make a business difference, not just save IT cost, you will need:

  • Small cross-functional insights teams, sponsored by a leader with accountability for a business outcome. These teams will combine business domain expertise, data science skills, engineering expertise, and software development know-how to find, test, and implement insights.
  • A repeatable insight-to-execution process that integrates data science, collaboration, governance, and agile implementation workflows. Without a repeatable process you won’t have a system, just a bunch of people sifting through a sea of data for occasional nuggets.
  • A digital insights architecture that will be built off of the big data management and agile BI work you have done. It will add insights delivery engines and data feed management capabilities and provide a pluggable fabric for insight discovery, collaboration, and governance tools.

If you want to be different and really build something that makes a difference for your business, we invite you to read our new report for CIOs, “Digital Insights Are The New Currency Of Business

If you are not a client, please follow me on Twitter at @practicingea; I’ll be giving a free webinar in the next couple of months to explain further.