How to be an Analytics Executive Sponsor
The Executive Forum, now in its third year, seemed even more successful to me than last year’s event. I forgot to count attendees, but the round of introductions revealed an interesting and varied mix of executives in the sizable crowd. This event is an effort on the part of INFORMS to help executives meet each other, so they can communicate with their peers who also focus on leading organizations dedicated to analytics.
What are keys to successful leadership of analytics? Anne Robinson, President-Elect of INFORMS,who gave a brief talk on How to be an Executive Sponsor, answered that question from her own heart with her characteristic passion. Her guiding principles are to Be Brave, Be Visible, and Be Successful. Brave, because doing analytics involves being willing to take risks (what if that long-term project doesn’t yield the results expected and hoped for?); Visible (coach your team, advocate for the work that they do, and evangelize early and often); and Successful (because analytics can be a strategic asset in this regard).
The conversation at the table was just as interesting. The banking executive I sat with said he feels his job is to shield his team, by which he meant allowing them to truly focus on analytics without letting others insert roadblocks or administrivia in their way. The technology executive said he transformed his team from quant jockeys serving analytical errands for business analysts into collaborative thinkers who worked arm in arm with the business to not just respond to but lead the way to analytical insights. The growth in these kinds of executives attending illustrates the growth of this field and the perfect timing of INFORMS to focus on the entire analytics spectrum. Tom Deutsch of IBM also gave a brief talk on Big Data, which I’m sure we’ll hear more about in the next couple of days. Big Data is everywhere!