A New Chapter In The Analytics Journey

By Bill Franks, Apr 13, 2017

Analytics Matters

Every individual and enterprise travels a unique journey in the pursuit of analytics. In my case I could never have predicted how my journey would unfold when I first entered the workforce over 20 years ago. The rise of analytics as a strategic imperative and the explosion of career opportunities within the field far surpass what I expected coming out of school. I feel very lucky to have had such a terrific journey so far and will be interested to look back 20 years from now and see what happens from here.

A New Leg in My Journey

As I write this, I am finishing a major leg of my personal analytics journey. As many readers are likely aware, I will be leaving Teradata this month. I had a terrific 14-year run with Teradata where I made a lot of friends, worked with some amazing clients, and got to witness firsthand how the world’s largest organizations have dealt with the rise of big data and analytics. Teradata treated me well and I like to think that I, in turn, contributed a lot to the company. It wasn’t an easy decision to leave, but I came across a great opportunity and every good run has to end at some point.

On May 1, I will join the International Institute for Analytics (IIA) in a full time role as Chief Analytics Officer. This very blog, Analytics Matters, has been published through IIA for a number of years now. I’ve been an active faculty member and corporate partner of IIA and I also know the IIA team already from my interactions over the years. So, this move doesn’t involve the drastic change of some of my past moves. It is a good feeling to be going to an organization that I am already familiar with.

Driving Analytics Performance

The passion I share with IIA is the focus on helping companies drive better analytics performance. IIA has always focused upon improving analytics performance without having a stake in any specific product or technology. Rather, IIA focuses on providing the guidance that companies need to succeed at three levels:

  • Each individual’s performance

  • Each analytics team’s performance

  • The overall analytics performance of the enterprise

IIA delivers a portfolio of research and advisory services that assist organizations at each of these levels.

First, is IIA’s group of Analytics Leadership Consortia (ALC). Each ALC is made up of about a dozen non-competing organizations who get together regularly in a facilitated setting to share learnings, discuss trends, and collaborate on how to successfully improve analytics performance. These councils are particularly valuable for executives as they expand their network of peers and are able to form a mutual support network.

Second, is the Research and Advisory Network (RAN). The RAN helps individuals and teams improve performance by connecting those with questions to those with the right experience and expertise to provide the answers. This is all done in a confidential manner and the dialog is documented for each client to distribute within their teams. This is a unique way to get additional, timely support for analytics professionals in the trenches.

Third, is the Analytics Maturity Assessment (AMA) service based on the analytics maturity model and DELTA framework created by Tom Davenport, Bob Morison, and Jeanne Harris. This service helps a team or enterprise understand where it stands relative to the market by providing benchmarks against a database of hundreds of organizations. It provides terrific perspective for a company’s C-Suite to understand where things stand. Assessing the skills of individuals is being considered as well.

Last but not least is the research and guidance provided by IIA and its Expert Network. The research agenda is driven by what is most important to organizations at any point along the journey and is intended to provide guidance to clients on topics of strategic value and rising importance. I look forward to playing a major role in this area.

Let’s Talk About The Next Leg of Your Journey

In the coming weeks, I will be reaching out to many of my contacts to discuss my new role and how IIA can be of benefit to them and their organizations. I also welcome inquiries from any reader who would like to know more. Simply go to the IIA website.

I’ve always loved helping companies improve their analytics performance, and I’m excited that the next leg of my journey allows me to continue to have this focus. While I can’t predict exactly what the future will hold, I am confident that it will involve a lot of analytics!

Originally published by the International Institute for Analytics.

About the author

Author photo

Bill Franks is IIA’s Chief Analytics Officer, where he provides perspective on trends in the analytics and big data space and helps clients understand how IIA can support their efforts and improve analytics performance. His focus is on translating complex analytics into terms that business users can understand and working with organizations to implement their analytics effectively. His work has spanned many industries for companies ranging from Fortune 100 companies to small non-profits.

Franks is the author of the book Taming The Big Data Tidal Wave (John Wiley & Sons, Inc., April, 2012). In the book, he applies his two decades of experience working with clients on large-scale analytics initiatives to outline what it takes to succeed in today’s world of big data and analytics. Franks’ second book The Analytics Revolution (John Wiley & Sons, Inc., September, 2014) lays out how to move beyond using analytics to find important insights in data (both big and small) and into operationalizing those insights at scale to truly impact a business. He is an active speaker who has presented at dozens of events in recent years. His blog, Analytics Matters, addresses the transformation required to make analytics a core component of business decisions.

Franks earned a Bachelor’s degree in Applied Statistics from Virginia Tech and a Master’s degree in Applied Statistics from North Carolina State University. More information is available at


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