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Time for Chief Analytics Officers to move “beyond the math” with Decision Management


We’ve blogged recently about some of the challenges in analytics and AI – How More Companies Can Maximize the Potential of Analytics and 80% of insurance carriers aren’t delivering high impact analytics – building on some great McKinsey research. They recently published another article, this time targeted at Chief Analytics Officers – Rebooting analytics leadership: Time to move beyond the math.

This was a great article. First, I loved that it made it clear Chief Analytics Officers should think about AI and Analytics together. This is key as it focuses AI on decision-making (where analytics is already focused) not just conversational AI. It’s not that chatbots aren’t useful, they’re just REALLY different from decision-making AI and are better thought of as user experience technology.

I was also glad to see them identify the things you can’t rely on to drive analytics/AI success like being “born digital”, having an analytical CEO or being in an existential crisis that drives people to act. You need to be able to succeed even when these things are NOT true.

The whole paper for me was summarized by this one great customer quote:

just getting the math right doesn’t drive the change

So true! McKinsey had some great suggestions that align with what we have seen work in our customers

  • Build a coalition of equals across the business/operations, analytics and IT.
    • This means you need ways to talk about the problem everyone understands – not math but decision models.
  • Put business value front and center and align analytics opportunities and innovation with the business unit’s vision and priorities.
    • Identify the business’ key metrics, find the decisions that will improve these metrics if they are improved. Focus on those decisions.
  • Focus on IT as a strategic partner rather than simply as an execution arm.
    • Engage them early to think about the last mile deployment of analytics.
  • Heavily invest in integrating advanced analytics into the workflow.
    • We use decision-centric design thinking to get the decision model the business need, build analytics to support that and then use the decision model and a modern Business Rules Management System to push that decision into systems and processes.
  • Be a change agent and advise boards and executives on what’s possible.
    • Don’t let those executives throw-up their hands and say “I don’t understand AI so do what you want”. Make them work for it!

Our DecisionsFirst approach is exactly what you need to succeed as a Catalytic CAO so if you are a Chief Analytics Officer, or want to become one, check out our Chief Analytics Officer resource page or contact us to chat.