December 4, 2019

Analytics Center of Excellence: What Is It, and Why to Embrace It

Alex Owens

Analytics Center of Excellence: What Is It, and Why to Embrace It

The phrase “Data is the ‘new oil’” is more relevant than ever – as more data is generated each year by consumers, and as corporations are able to consume larger amounts of data with improved infrastructure and scalability, it’s important that organizations think about data as an asset. Data represents a key competitive advantage and data and analytics should be at the center of business strategy. An Analytics Center of Excellence (ACoE) is a key element in enabling organizations to better leverage data to make faster business decisions, identify opportunities, and navigate the complexities of moving into “big data.”

Organizations are taking notice – in 2018, 68% of Fortune 1000 organizations had a Chief Data Officer, up from only 12% in 2012.  Though many organizations have data and/or analytics functions in place, in many instances, they are siloed, working on non-scalable projects at the department-level, making it difficult for these processes, skills, and insights to be leveraged across the organization. The ACoE plays a large role in helping organizations manage and accelerate the value of information and analytics and aligns cross-functional processes.

So how should healthcare organizations think about developing their own ACoE to use analytics across the enterprise? Healthcare organizations must overcome a multitude of challenges to deliver analytics insights and should consider their unique situation when developing an ACoE. From having disparate legacy systems that cannot communicate, lack of talent, lack of governance / standards, mixed priorities, and of course regulatory / compliance requirements – it can be difficult for healthcare organizations to build top-notch analytical capabilities while focusing on quality patient care.

Building an ACoE that can scale business processes is a critical part of accelerating big data adoption at scale. This is why it is vital to work with a partner to drive implementation of a charter for the analytics organization. This is key to delivering analytics as a business engagement strategy and instituting enterprise-wide data governance processes. The right partner organization can push for standards to be established, so that the analytics function can operate effectively at the enterprise-level.

Analytics has become the way organizations continue to deliver value to customers and business partners, and ACoEs will differ significantly accommodating for variables like data management maturity, organizational objectives, current analytics capabilities, and skillset of personnel. An ACoE can have a centralized, decentralized, or hybrid model and is tasked with supporting everyday business functions and addressing gaps in the current analytics environment, while planning for future needs.

Faced with increasing competition and razor-thin margins, now is the best time for healthcare organizations to embrace the ACoE to maintain and improve profitability, improve collaboration between IT and business, increase operational efficiency, standardize tools and processes, and expand analytics use cases. Developments in advanced analytics technology, coupled with the maturity of software/hardware platforms, have reduced technological uncertainty and significantly reduced the cost of successfully developing, implementing, and maintaining a robust ACoE organization.