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What keeps your C-level colleagues awake at night?

Tailor your analytics conversations

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Program Director, Analytics Platform Marketing, IBM

How can you have an effective conversation with a chief marketing officer (CMO) or chief financial officer (CFO) about the benefits of analytics? And what exactly keeps a chief operating officer (COO) or a chief data officer (CDO) awake at night? Moreover, what could you say about analytics that might resonate with a chief executive officer (CEO)?

Pitch analytics as transformation

Preparing for an analytics conversation you’ll be having with a business colleague can involve some mental gymnastics. For example, rather than showing off all you know about data and analytics capabilities and their enabling technologies, think instead about what things are important to a business leader, and find your conversation opening there. If you’re a chief information officer (CIO), this exercise might come naturally after previous collaborations with your C-suite colleagues—but others on the IT team want to warm up before the main event.

That analytics can transform business and industries seems abundantly clear to those who are involved in such transformations. For example, claims managers at Infinity Insurance know that prescriptive analytics is helping them “explain those things that don’t exist” and enhance their claims process. Moreover, at the Department of Science and Technology (DST) in the Philippines, predictive analytics is helping the DST team integrate real-time information from multiple sources while preparing for major disasters and informing citizens in potentially affected areas of the expected effects of severe weather events.

But most business leaders, whether chief officers or other executives, managers or practitioners, have more to think about than just data and analytics. Expanding the customer base, reducing operating costs, keeping pace with industry changes, spotting trends in demand—these are just a few of the things that keep business leaders up at night.

Plan for success

When preparing to meet with a C-suite employee, consider the likely priorities of your business contact if you don’t already know from previous interactions. If you aren’t sure, or if you’re seeking additional insights you can use to step up your game, spend a few minutes with an online tool that can help IT leaders prepare for important conversations with business leaders, setting the stage for a productive discussion:

  • Getting the attention of the CEO might mean explaining new ways of deriving business value from ever-growing quantities of data available to the organization.
  • To help engage the CFO, emphasize the importance of predicting trends and creating revenue opportunities.
  • The CMO might very well already be thinking about analytics, for marketing drives many analytics decisions. Indeed, analytics is helping organizations of all kinds understand their customers, strengthening their bonds with consumers by integrating digital information sources such as documents, messages and social media content.
  • The COO could be receptive to ways of enabling everyday decision making and building instant, automated responses into operations by gleaning actionable insights from data.
  • CDOs, who often have one foot in the business world and the other in the technology world, might be eager to discuss ways of infusing analytics into all aspects of business.

Prepare for your analytics conversations, and the ensuing collaboration could lead to productive business strategies and innovations able to give your organization the competitive edge. To take the next step in driving data deep into your strategy, learn how industry leaders are addressing competitive opportunities through analytics-infused initiatives.