Knowing what a predictive maturity model is and implementing it effectively are not exactly mutually exclusive. Sometimes, what we perceive to be small processes or observations can have a huge impact. Conversely, some businesses will overspend on resources but never gain the traction they need to justify the cost, or reach their full potential.

Skydiving is a subject often tossed around during bucket list conversations. I am fortunate to have checked that box.  This post isn’t about me bragging, but rather about how understanding the analytics maturity model and implementing the knowledge you’ve gained from it can be a little like skydiving.

For my (cough, cough)th birthday, my wife gave me the gift of skydiving. Oh yes, I was going to 10,000 feet on the rocket ship of not getting older and then I was to step off into a freefall. This, to me, was the perfect gift—unique and life affirming. There was a small snag in the whole deal. I was not going to ride in a plane and I was not going to step off into anything except a tube. My wife had purchased a tube diving session for me. For the uninitiated, this is nothing more than a vertical tube with a huge fan beneath it. The fan is turned on and, whoosh, you’re skydiving … 5 feet or so off the ground. In some ways, it is like rafting in a swimming pool.

The experience was still exhilarating and incredibly unique. But why a tube? Why not a full-on plane experience? Why hadn’t my wife booked me on a military aircraft with a guy yelling “Go! Go! GO!”? The answer is, she wasn’t ready for me to jump out of a plane. I was raring to go, but my wife was a little more practical about the proposition. This is precisely how we, as analysts, should be thinking. Taking things in incremental steps to build executive confidence and trust while we learn the moves in a controlled environment is the way to go.

The very first step is to identify your business’ readiness.  Are you ready to get the high-level, all-encompassing view of the landscape from 10,000 feet, or should you start in the tube and learn some of the moves first? As it turns out, this is usually one of the biggest challenges in implementing an analytics solution in business. Finding your business’ readiness to take the big leap is the trick. Unfortunately, it is not always a process that is dependent on numbers and results; emotion and trust are two key factors.

Over the next few weeks we will be discussing how even companies that are already using analytics can soar even higher. We will be discussing new and improved tactics for predictive analytics as well as tried and true best practices and how to apply them to your business.

In the next few posts, we will look at several key steps in this process:

  • Ground School. The big push in Big Data is toward customer acquisition and conversion. Analytics offers much more however. Before stepping out into open air, identifying how you can streamline your internal operations is a massive step in the process to higher profit margins.
  • Fitness Training. There is a weight limit to skydiving. Not being lean and ready for the experience is sure to cause issues with landing. Much like getting into shape for skydiving, exercising the knowledge you’ve gained in small increments and increasing your exercise regimen is key to gaining real strength.
  • Into the Tube. Now it’s time to up the ante. At this stage, we’ll be looking at expanding analytics to cover more ground than previously thought possible by your business’ executives. By the time we’re in the tube, we will have had some measure of corporate or high-level buy-in. As analysts, this gives us a bit more leeway to help our company grow and become more profitable while trying maneuvers under the watchful eye of the “higher ups.” By listening and implementing their input, we can further refine our output to meet the company’s required needs.
  • Diving. We’re at 10,000 feet and ready to jump. We are finally using analytics to its fullest potential and all of our training and hard work are about to pay off. What was once considered an oddity and mystic numbers witchcraft is now looked upon by the executives within your firm as something indispensable.

How are we going to reach the goal of skydiving? Check back often as we go through the process of gaining the trust needed to leverage analytical processes in your business. In the meantime, your homework assignment is to evaluate your company’s predictive capabilities. Here’s an Adobe self-assessment tool to get you started.