Many individuals think about analytics as a process that converts data into information. Whole industries have been developed to help us capture and organize our data and then process that data through methodologies that range from simple trend development to cognitive Artificial Intelligence. Often what is lost is that for information to, itself, be useful it must transform from the digital realm into the physical one. In other words, if at some point information is going to get us to change what we are doing, it must get pulled out of the machine and brought into the mind of a human.
In most organizations, the human at the front of that transformation for digital to physical is the analyst. But at the same time, in most organizations the analyst is not the decision maker who can drive an organization to act or change. So, the analyst is a translator, moving data, transforming it to information, and sending it along to the decision maker in a way that she can understand. The great analyst knows that the job isn't done once information is delivered, but only when it is understood and acted upon.
Here in lies the art behind analytics: the analyst is ultimately responsible for getting someone else to understand when the analyst does not control that person's comprehension; and the analyst is ultimately responsible for getting an organization to act when the analyst does not control decision makers' motivations.
This discussion will present a simple framework: that of businesses making quality decisions by having quality conversations using quality information that came from quality data, and will build from that framework to briefly explore the human psychological barriers and opportunities that analysts can mitigate and exploit, respectively, to help drive good decisions through good conversations.