Why IT should use business analytics, not just provide it for everyone else

There’s a deep irony in the fact that IT teams can spend much of their work week configuring analytics models, maintaining data integrity, and helping keep dashboards and self-service reports running as they should — all while having little access to purpose-built versions of these tools for their own uses.

It recalls the experience of food writer Jennifer Small, who once said: “My husband is an executive chef of a large fine dining restaurant, and the number one food he eats after working a crazy amount of hours in a professional kitchen is Top Ramen.”

The investment of acquiring and implementing business analytics for IT can be well worth the effort. Analytics can empower automation, create more efficient workflows, reduce the volume of incidents, and reveal other insights that lead to increased productivity and more efficient spending overall. 

For these reasons and more, IT teams deserve to actually benefit from the fruits of their labor rather than settling for lower standards for themselves.

8 use cases that take advantage of IT business analytics

There are many practical use cases that illustrate the value IT business analytics can provide to ITSM as well as the enterprise they serve as a whole.

They include:

  1. Mining unstructured data, allowing for smarter management practices, such as more efficient incident resolution through the use of natural language processing
  2. Moving from reactive reports to  proactive analytics, allowing IT teams to drive meaningful changes that can lead to better visibility of the health of the organization
  3. Gaining the ability to reveal the root causes of IT incidents, reducing the rate of recurring problems
  4. Optimizing workflows in a way that can lead to a dramatic reduction in IT incidents overall
  5. Obtaining transparency within your ITSM vendor relationships, allowing for more objective evaluation of services
  6. Better change management through visibility of change risks and an objective record of failure rates
  7. Avoiding major incidents altogether thanks to change risk prediction and overall incident reduction strategies
  8. Creating greater opportunities for innovation within IT, allowing those with the most domain knowledge to have a greater voice in crucial technology decisions

Most of these use cases describe the practical results of effective IT analytics implementation, but the last one truly highlights the potential analytics has to give IT a more empowered role within their organization.

Frankly speaking, organizations desperately need IT to be capable of assuming such a leadership role in order to keep pace with an increasingly agile and data focused marketplace.

IT can serve as the vanguard for a data-centered culture

IT is frequently absent from the larger conversation about the potential for analytics to bring positive changes to organizations. What’s at stake is more than just vanity or a sense of purpose. IT team leaders are uniquely qualified to help drive true business transformation throughout their organization. 

As Gartner states, “Data and analytics leaders should coordinate with IT and business leaders to develop a holistic BI strategy…. Enterprises must have people, skills and key structures in place to foster and secure skills and develop capabilities.”  

In other words, the entire organization needs IT to play a major role in developing a technology and data-focused strategy for future success.

Research shows that without this singular vision, businesses can lag behind in their transformation-related priorities. A survey by Deloitte showed that while 76 percent of company leaders claim that they are improving upon their “analytical maturity,” 62 percent admit that they are still using spreadsheets and other antiquated toolsets. Furthermore, two-thirds of companies completely ignore unstructured data within their analyses, hurting their chances of achieving business goals by 24%, according to the survey.

IT is in a better position than any department to lead the charge towards true data-driven enterprise culture and the adoption of analytics at every level of decision making. In fact, they already do occupy this position, but as service providers rather than as service users. 

Without access to analytics solutions specifically built to enhance their capabilities and make their jobs easier, IT risks racking up opportunity costs that can hurt the entire organization.

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