I'm a big fan of advice checklists. Dennis D. McDonald has a great list of 12 points for anyone looking to improve their analytics capability – or, in broader terms, wishing to exploit their data more effectively. They're all good, but I want to pick on two items for special emphasis.
First: “Focus first on solving important problems, not just on 'low hanging fruit.'” It's important to achieve results and it's a good idea to get some early wins whose value everyone can appreciate. However, it's sometimes the case that once all the low-hanging fruit has been picked, progress grinds to a halt. Only focusing on what's immediately doable runs the risk of feeding the hype cycle, so you quickly reach a point where expectations begin to outstrip what you can reasonably hope to produce. By paying attention to the importance of problems as well as their ease or difficulty of accomplishment, we remind ourselves that the task at hand is not (just) to sell the value of data exploitation. Our job is to make the organization perform a whole lot better.
Second, I'd like to echo this: “Don't just recruit and hire data analysts. Also consider upgrading middle and upper management's analytical skills.” Sure, we need specialists. But organizations harbor enormous amounts of talent, insight, and dedication that go underutilized. You can often add formal data analysis skills to existing staff. We have huge talent resources in our enterprises – people who are intimate with how the business works and, crucially, aware of the information gaps.
You always have more internal capability than you think. Yes, you'll want to augment that capability from new sources, and mix things up a little. But recognize the riches you already have. CTO Vision