Organizations are in an arms race to say that they leverage big data, data science, and predictive analytics. But in this competitive race to boldly state, “We do that!” it’s important not to let the hype drive critical decisions that will determine if you succeed or fail.
With any strategic project or capability, including analytics and data science, leveraging the right mix of partners and internal resources is vital as the decision to launch the project. It is the difference between success and failure, on-time delivery that creates a competitive advantage, or major delays and cost overruns. Companies should start by asking themselves, “What’s the right fit for our organization?”
The answer depends on the problem you are trying to solve. To right-size your analytics project; here is a framework to consider when faced with the decision to move forward:
Launch date: If you are working toward a specific launch or delivery date, it can be useful to either engage external resources or create internal teams dedicated solely to that cause. If your initial plan is to use internal resources that need to balance a mix of daily and project responsibilities, you are destined to miss your launch date. Ensure focus amongst your resources.
Complexity: If this problem has been solved successfully before by people within your organization, consider insourcing the work. For more complex and new problems, it is helpful to acquire deep and broad experience through external, on-shore experts. A complex analytical and business background is needed to dissect the problem and arrive to a tailored solution.
Long-Term Roadmap: If you are seeking to build a long-term competitive advantage for your company through proprietary analytical solutions, build a case for acquiring internal talent. However, balancing the desire to build an empire with staffing for long-term success — that’s where right-sizing comes in. Talent that is interested and capable of building new capabilities is often overqualified for maintaining them long-term. These individuals become bored and leave, taking critical knowledge with them. Some will overstate their abilities, or lack desire, leaving you with an expensive and unproductive resource. Rather than building a team of internal developers, collaborating with external experts to develop these new capabilities is recommended. This ensures strong collaboration with your internal team and a focus on knowledge transfer.
Remember, if the project is worth doing, it’s worth investing to do it right. With any of your projects, the brand of your firm and the reputation of individual teams and executives are riding on its success. That makes whom you partner with – and right-sizing of your endeavor – even more critical. After all, if you’re going to invest time, money and resources in an initiative, set yourself up for success by putting the right team in place.