One of the frequent questions we get asked by our clients in that first get-to-know phase. “Will we need to create a new analytic position/team within our company?”. And without exception our answer is …
It depends on Your goals
Because to us, the job of a data consultant is not to tell you what to do, but to help you think about your own business from different perspective. To open and hold the door to something you would struggle to do alone. Consequentially, a consultant might and should introduce you some of the many options there are to drive the switch to being a data-driven organization. Or they might introduce you several tools they believe might help your folks. What really matters though, is to have your people understand how data can help them do their jobs. That primarily includes having an understanding about what is hidden in your data, how does its` structure looks like and how to ask insightful questions.
You have your internal goals and strategies
Transforming your business into a data-driven one should be aligned with them. If you are pulling a matrix organization within your core operations, then a separated analytics team might go against the organizational logic. But hey, maybe your CEO prefers to have analysts at his right hand to answer his daily questions - then it also can wokr for you. In some cases, clients decide, they prefer to focus on what they do best and ask us, consultants to run analysis for them (more about that next time).
Working with an external consultancy to help you run such a transformation, they should be able to help you assess the different pros and cons of each of these solutions. If you decide to educate your employees, hire analysts, set processes, your consultancy can do that as well. We do the same and it excites us to see our clients grow into data-driven businesses.
To conclude, having a dedicated analytics team or several data analysts spread across teams in a matrix organization or not having specially dedicated people at all is only a matter of tactics. The real strategic aim should be to shift your company towards data-driven decision making. Everything else is a support on the way there.