A Practical Approach for IT Governance

ABIT 3: The Role of IT Analytics: Learning from Mark Twain

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As I was starting to put my thoughts on the next blog on IT Analytics, I thought of Mark Twain. When asked to speak, he inquired as to how long he should speak. A bit bewildered, the requestor asked why it was relevant. Mark Twain quickly replied, “If you want me to give you a two-hour presentation, I am ready today. If you want only a five-minute speech, it will take me two weeks to prepare.” The same holds true for metrics, if a firm needs everything, it is easy do. But if the firm asks for just a few key metrics, then it is a bit harder. Please note that the growth of analytics is strongest in financial management and budgeting followed by operations and production, strategy and business development.  Sales and Marketing and Customer Services are target areas of growth.

The role of IT Analytics can be better understood by making the distinction between micro-analytics (individual Key Performance Indicators) and macro-analytics (combination of multiple metrics).  Individual functions such as sales, operations, finance create a set of domain metrics which are very specific and cover a few specific measurements. These analytics fall under micro-analytics. A Balanced Scorecard view provides macro analytics. Macro analytics is analogous to macroeconomics – dealing with the whole whereas microeconomics deals with a specific domain or area.

However, IT Analytics does require interpreting the data and data trends.  We should be very, very careful in creating analytics from facts/raw-data. It took us a long time to understand and refine the credit score, and to this date, the credit rating system has not reached maturity.  IT Analytics using the balanced scorecard approach seems to be sound, but it will take us a while to get analytics that are mature and have gained wide acceptance.   We started with Mark Twain, so let us end this discussion with him. He also quoted: “Get your facts first, then you can distort them as you please.”


Written by Subbu Murthy

April 15, 2014 at 2:18 pm

Posted in Analytics

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