3 Strategies to Balance Your Data and Analytics Team


For a data and analytics (D&A) leader, forming a new organizational model that needs to include centralized as well as decentralized teams, the challenge is whether to keep control or to offer freedom.


Control gives clear advantages like consistency, consensus and shared best practices, while freedom offers autonomy, agility and innovation.


Whether the leader opts for control or freedom, a successful team needs to balance the strengths and weaknesses of the centralized and decentralized teams. There are three strategies that can be deployed to achieve this. These are not mutually exclusive, but rather, these approaches can be adapted to fit the skills and culture of the organization.


This is undoubtedly the most conventional approach. Here, a centralized team operates across the enterprise and acts as an umbrella organization for smaller, more-specialized D&A teams. Having a central team provides adherence to global processes, while the specialized teams implement those same processes in their respective markets or business units.

Divide and conquer

Here, a centralized team once again ensures consistency throughout the organization. However, certain functions, like HR and marketing are given more autonomy and they have the authority to manage analytics applications in their respective areas. They can even decide which tools need to be purchased and how the solutions must be architected within their domains. However, these functions must report to the global team to maintain consistency.


As the name suggests, this approach works in the opposite manner of either of the two approaches outlined above. In a bottom-up strategy, individual business lines and workgroups have complete freedom to purchase whatever tools fit their specific needs. They also manage their own data modeling, reporting and analysis. The centralized team must collaborate with these individual decentralized teams, identify valuable analytics content and promote it across the organization.


Every organisation has its own set of requirements. Instead of rigidly applying any one of these strategies, a successful D&A leader must aim for a balanced approach between these three. The ideal way to achieve this is to create a two-tiered model with a centralized team, which collaborates with all the decentralized teams in the organization. The umbrella team must ensure jurisdictions are clear and give all teams the freedom to use their authority but within the ambit of their responsibilities.


To know more about how to apply these strategies to a D&A model, please join us at Gartner Data & Analytics Summit 2019, 10 - 11 June, Mumbai.

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