Your CEO Gets in the Elevator – You Have 22 Floors to Articulate Your Value to the Organization

Your CEO Gets in the Elevator – You Have 22 Floors to Articulate Your Value to the Organization

No pressure. If the topic were your kids or last night’s game, there wouldn't be any pressure, but do you know your value to the company?

How do you define and quantify it?

How do you articulate it?

For one type of CDAO, this will be an easy elevator ride — the CDAO who understands that the value of a data leader is measured by the business value that data and analytics generate across the enterprise. That CDAO continually tracks the success of the company as a whole and can confidently quantify the value that data and analytics products have contributed to corporate success.

What is business value?

It is common for department heads of shared services organizations to define value in terms of outputs: 14 data products delivered in the quarter, 99.999% uptime, and 85% of projects delivered on time and on budget. Leaders with a greater depth of field define value in actions observed in the business, for instance, a 12% increase in usage and adoption of analytics assets.

Naturally the C-suite measures value in corporate financial outcomes and customer experience improvement: 21% revenue growth, 8% increase in operating margin, 7% increase in customer sentiment scores. Correspondingly, individual business unit leaders target outcomes to achieve those corporate strategic goals: 45% proposal win rate, 15% MQL to SQL conversion rate, and 5% increase in customer referral rate.

That’s how a CDAO must think. We must align everything we do to corporate strategic goals and measure our value in those precise terms. Although Field Sales booked those 50 deals, it was our new logo prescriptive analytics that guided them to knock on those specific doors. We were integral to those wins. Admittedly, attribution is harder for us to see and to claim than it is for the business. The honest appraisal of a shared service organization's value is an art. It’s difficult but necessary.

How do you measure business value?

Corporate strategy dictates your departmental strategic goals and that alignment empowers you to reject use cases that will not advance corporate objectives. The use cases you accept will define your deliverables: analytics outputs that will drive business value. Measurements must be put in place prior to delivery, and quarterly targets should be set. 

How do you articulate the business value you drive?

Continually measure progress, update your messaging accordingly, and holster your success stories for easy access. Create recurring and ad hoc opportunities to rave about those successes and your essentiality to the enterprise. Importantly, when you articulate your personal value to the organization, you’re not an “I,” you’re a “We.”

Here’s the Elevator Pitch:

Ding! [Lobby].

My CEO Mary Margaret McConnell enters an elevator that I’m already in.

ME: Good morning, Mary. 

CEO: It is!

ME: And what a great quarter! My team was so proud of our risk stratification predictive models. Care Management was able to focus on the patients with the best opportunities for improved health outcomes. 93% model accuracy.

CEO: Pretty accurate.

ME: We’re hoping for an 8% decrease in divertible ED visits this quarter.

CEO: That would be spectacular.

ME: Mary, how else can we contribute?

CEO: Sepsis.

Ding [Floor 22]. CEO exits. 

ME: Sepsis?

CEO: I’ll have Eric invite you to QBR.

The doors close.

Fist pump! 

Took me 7 weeks to time that elevator ride right.

About the Author:

Shayde Christian is Chief Data and Analytics Officer, Cloudera. Christian guides data-driven cultural change for Cloudera to generate maximum value from data. He enables Cloudera customers to get the absolute best from their Cloudera products such that they can generate high-value use cases for competitive advantage. Previously a principal consultant, Shayde formulated data strategy for Fortune 500 clients and designed, constructed, or turned around failing enterprise information management organizations. Shayde enjoys laughter and is often the cause of it.

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