In the era of open innovation, the traditional constraints on analytical organizations have changed. No longer can companies compete effectively by performing all their analytical internally or outsourcing only the most routine work. It takes a leader to make the most of these more permeable boundaries, combining company resources with external collaborators to increase technical innovation, acquire new knowledge, reduce costs, improve productivity and more. Leaders must now be ready to:
- Define the New Ecosystem for Analytical Work: This is the time to create the analytical organization you’ve dreamed of. Think big, and think in terms of pay-offs for the company. What kind of analytical organization could create a step change for your business? Think in terms of capabilities, capacity, knowledge bases, digitization, etc. While there are lots of tools to help a leader make this work successful, the most important leader attribute is courage. Courage comes from the heart, so this is as much about people as it is about championing new technology and business models.
- Define the Stakeholders and Their Mindsets: Mindsets are a key source of energy to harvest the benefits of a broad, open analytical ecosystem. Who are all your stakeholders? Which will be tailwinds, and which will be headwinds? How will you reduce the headwinds or convert them into tailwinds? How can you include them in the design and implementation to increase their commitment and ownership? Don’t forget to do an honest self-check here. Your mindset is critical to driving this forward.
- Create Partners and Alliances, Not Just Suppliers: The relationships you create with external organizations will drive success. Capabilities and capacity alone will not get you the step change your business needs. As a leader, developing effective relationships between key collaborators inside and outside your organization is critical to success.
- Keep it Flexible: Building your analytical ecosystem is not a once-and-done activity. A leader must be able to “look around the corner” at the new and changing needs of the company and build those into the ecosystem in an ongoing way to get ahead of the need.
- It Takes Work, but It Pays Off Big: Creating your analytical ecosystem will take energy and time, so a leader must continue to encourage and communicate throughout the creation process. As this pays off, be sure to communicate your ‘wins’; they are the fuel that continues to grow your ecosystem and your ongoing success.