“Excellence always sells.”  –Earl Nightingale

The questions below may sound familiar to you.  I hear them from leaders of business insights teams of all kinds, from quant to qual, digital analytics to database marketing, customer analytics to voice of customer, market research to competitive intelligence, campaigns to customer service, behaviorial to predictive, B2C to B2B, CPG to pharma – you name it:

  • "I lead our [name the insights area[s] here] team.  We’re struggling to get our business and operational areas to take action on insights – heck, sometimes we don’t even know what happens to the insights we provide.  How do we change this?"
  • "Our insights teams work in silos that have built up over the years.  The teams are good at what they do.  But how do we pull together and combine our different flavors of insights to get more customer understanding?  How should we organize?"
  • "I've been asked to re-organize [or, I'm new and I've taken over] our insights areas.  I need to give a presentation to the C-team about what I'll propose.  Any ideas on a framework I should use?"

The pressure is on, bigtime, to get more value from firms’ substantial investment in people and technologies for driving insights. The return on the investment doesn't seem to be where it should be.  For example, in 2016, data and analytics pro’s reported that still only 49% of business decisions are made using quantitative information and analysis – as opposed to subjective factors such as experience, gut feeling, or opinions (up 3 percentage points from 2015). And satisfaction with analytics functions in 2016 is only 46% (up 4 percentage points from 2015).

Customer insights (CI) pros know that there’s need for change – that’s clear in the questions they’re asking us.  And they also want to know:  is reorganizing the way to go?  Is centralized best? Decentralized? Our research shows that CI follows one of three organizational models:  dedicated (decentralized), centralized, and center of excellence (CoE). (See figure below.) We have seen CI teams with higher customer obsession maturity operate in a CoE model.

Know your options!  I’ve just published a report that provides the upsides and downsides of each of those three models and info on where each model tends to report into in organizations.  For CoEs, the report includes an overview of the critical governance, best practices expertise, and program management support this model must provide.   Reach out to us if you have questions you’d like to discuss about your own situation.