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3 min read

Your data transformation has failed before take off

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2–3 years. The average yearly tenure of a Chief Analytics Officer.


The biggest challenge that Data and Analytics executives face today is engaging with the business.

Over the past 10+ years we have seen leaders do great work in finding an organisational home for their data and investing heavily in the right architecture and management of their data.

We have seen them build high performing analytics teams — with various models and structures in the way that they interface with the business.

But now is the time to find value from these investments and the only way that you’re going to do that, is to win the hearts and minds of the business. Get this wrong and we will fail to find any meaningful return from these investments.

It starts with the words that you use. There are countless examples throughout history of leaders helping their teams, organisations, countries to achieve the impossible.

If you’re a data leader reading this — you are one of those leaders.

An example we all know, is that of JFK as he stood before Congress on May 25, 1961:

(the United States)should commit itself to achieving the goal, before this decade is out, of landing a man on the Moon and returning him safely to the Earth.

Using this as a backdrop, if you are a Chief Data Officer leading change, your Data Vision needs to accomplish 3 things:

It must be Inspirational: As a young boy or girl looking outside their bedroom window in 1962 and looking up to space, this Vision would have truly inspired all of them. Being part of a country that was going to put a man on the moon.

77%. Respondents who said that “business adoption” of big data and AI initiatives is a challenge for their organization.


As a Data Leader… your data vision must inspire the business towards a new frontier. Leverage the pioneering spirit that exists within leadership and make data part of that.

It must be Aspirational: At the time of making this speech, the United States and NASA had very little experience is space expeditions. But that didn’t hold back Kennedy. He wanted to stretch the thinking of leadership, such that they new they had to do something differently to make it happen. To innovate around that way that they worked and thought.

As a Data leader… you need to feel comfortable at pushing the business to think and act differently with data. Don’t show them examples of elite sport or Google or Apple, but rather give them a tangible next step — on the way to your data Vision.

It must be time-bound: At the end of the speech that Kennedy made, people sprung into action as they knew that the clock was ticking. They had to achieve this by the end of the decade and time wasn’t going to stand still.

As a Data Leader… the reaction from the business needs to be around immediate action. Not waiting for the perfect team, or perfect data or perfect technology but rather starting to immediately work differently. Don’t wait for the next team to start!

At see6, we have seen many Executives fail to engage the business to a new future with data, relying on data language or technology that soon falls short. We need to use words to inspire the next generation of data driven leadership in our organisation.

Start now. One team at a time.

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