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How to use data analytics to improve project outcomes

Moira Alexander | March 21, 2017
Worldwide revenues for big data and business analytics is expected to grow to more than US$187 billion by 2019 and the project management industry is projected to hit US$5.81 trillion by 2020. Here is how some organisations are leveraging data analytics to improve their project performance.

Ted Friedman, vice president and analyst at Gartner, predicts the following three trends will drive fundamental changes in the use of data and analytics:

  • Instead of just reflecting business performance, data analytics will become the driver of operations.
  • Data and analytics will become infused in an organization's architecture from end to end, creating a holistic approach -- and this will include strategic project management in EPMOs (enterprise program management offices).
  • Executives will use data and analytics for business strategy and growth, creating new additional roles for professionals.
  • Experts share insights on how data improves project performance

Companies of all sizes have been using data analytics to seek out opportunities, reduce costs, create efficiencies, make better and faster decisions, and ultimately increase customer satisfaction; this also translates at the project, program and portfolio levels since these greatly enable company-wide strategy.

At the Chicago Bulls, Matthew Kobe, director of analytics, says its Business Strategy and Analytics team uses consumer insights to drive the strategic direction of the organization. They use data analytics to focus on three key areas of insight -- fan levels, business transactions and digital engagement -- to inform the organization's strategic choices. He shares more about their focus on the three areas below:

  1. Fan Level Insights -- The Bulls are building a robust CRM and data warehouse solution that delivers a more holistic view of our fans. "We seek to understand psychographic elements that help us to understand why a person is engaging and transacting with the Bulls," says Matthew. They also want to "understand satisfaction and areas for improvement by capturing fan specific feedback on all elements of the fan experience."
  2. Transactional Insights -- The team analyzes all business transactions including ticketing, concessions and merchandise, and wherever possible, Matthew says "We tie these transactional elements back to the fan to build out a more complete customer view."
  3. Digital Engagement Insights -- "The Bulls have a significant digital presence illustrated by the second largest social media following for any sports team in North America," says Kobe. Because of this, they work to understand the types of content fans are engaging with and how those engagements drive their fans downstream behaviors. They again make every effort to link engagements back to the fan to help their continued effort to further expand on their customer view.

"With these three areas under our purview, we are able to more effectively influence change across the organization. Specifically, we have impacted nearly every area that influences a fan's experience with the Bulls: Ticketing, Sponsorship, Digital Content, Marketing, and Concessions," he says.

Jason Levin, vice president of Institutional Research at Western Governors University (WGU), also shared how they use data analytics to create project wins. "Conceptually, the most important data for project success is having a measurement plan that includes implementation fidelity and efficacy," he says.


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