Navigating the Politics of Analytics

shutterstock_311821454In a prior issue of MHI Solutions and in the 2016 MHI Annual Industry Report—Accelerating Change: How Innovation is Driving Digital, Always-on Supply Chains, you may have noticed that one of the emerging technologies or innovations driving supply chain success is analytics. With talk of the future impact of analytics (namely predictive analytics) on the “digital, chain, always-on supply chain,” there is a major issue that supply chain organizations need to be aware of—“the politics of analytics.”

The politics of analytics is about the climate, culture and dynamics in your organization as they pertain to the wide-scale use of analytics. As is true with most organizations, politics are involved in many decisions. But the question remains, “is and should analytics be absolved from political infighting?”

Consider this…it is well documented that high-performing organizations are five times more likely to be more analytics-driven than intuition-based with respect to decision-making as compared to low-performing organizations. Further, high-performing organizations are twice as likely to use analytics (instead of intuition) for developing future strategies than low-performing organizations.4 In light of this information, I would like to be able to say that analytics is not subject to organizational politics, but this is not the case.

Despite the seemingly apparent benefits to be derived from leveraging analytics in the supply chain, decisions such as whether to move forward or not and whether to fully embrace or dabble with analytics in the supply chain are wrought with political posturing. Executives and non-executives alike who desire to get the most from analytics or at least get the opportunity to demonstrate a proof of concept often find themselves engrossed in a tug-of-war with analytics professionals, and in some cases other executives.

By Randy V. Bradley, Ph.D, CPHIMS, FHIMSS

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