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Theodore Roosevelt famously summarized his foreign policy in seven words: “Speak softly, and carry a big stick.”

It was a bold, memorable salute to the U.S. military—so memorable that we often overlook the other half of his philosophy. To Roosevelt, “the exercise of intelligent forethought and decisive action, far in advance of any likely crisis” was key. Preparedness could head off any big-stick-worthy calamity in the first place. Teddy believed in negotiation borne of information.

Oh, what a fine data analyst he would have made.

Data is the business world’s “big stick”

Done well, data analytics opens doors for exploration, conquest—and profit. American CIOs state that with the highest-quality data, they could increase their profits by an average of 15 percent. They understand that data can predict customer behavior, uncover efficiencies, and reveal meaningful insights.

But to excel in data, companies must first assess how well they’re positioned to conduct it.

The SiriusDecisions Analytics Proficiency Assessment Model helps business leaders gauge their organization’s analytics readiness and capabilities.

Read more about the 5 Key Principles of Analytics Proficiency

As you’ll read in the 5 Key Principles of Analytics Proficiency, there are five areas that business leaders can direct focus to cultivate a more data-centered company:

1. Skills & Tools: The skills employees possess and the tools they use are essential to high performance. Are you hiring mostly generalists, expert analysts, or some of each? Are they using basic applications, advanced tools, or a combination of the two?

Did you know? Only 13 percent of today’s organizations have analytics experts on staff. (Tweet this!)

2. Planning: To win the future, organizations must be prepared to fulfill requests for accurate, quality data. How does your company store, organize, and scale data? Is your company reactive, fully integrated, or somewhere in the middle?

Did you know? 60 percent of analytics-equipped businesses plan to increase their investment by 10 percent over the next 2 years.

3. Process: A well-integrated process for data management improves customer service and can increase profits. Do your employees work with data manually, or are they fully connected via a central database? Do they work with no process, a robust process, or something in between?

Did you know? 52 percent of organizations say that data and analytics are transforming their industries.

Dive into the full Analytics Proficiency Model, and asses your company with this whitepaper

4. Data: Scalability of data is challenging. Strong organizations are laser-focused on continuously improving the quality and integrity of their data in addition to the systems they use to manage it. Is your company’s data inconsistent, optimized, or simply adequate?

Did you know? Although 63 percent of organizations can access, validate, transform, and secure their data, only 13 percent can actually sustain an expanding data universe.

5. Culture: World-class organizations promote a culture that values the power of data. Do your company’s analytics teams embrace and engage in populating data systems with intelligent insights? Is your company resistant to or enthusiastic about analytics-based decision making—or somewhere in between?

Did you know? 70 percent of organizations are open to data-driven decision making.

Lay out the road map

Once you have a clear picture of how your company’s analytics capabilities are performing—or lacking—it’s easier to map out next steps. (The Measure Your Impact whitepaper has tips for that, too.) In no time, your company can learn how to use intelligent forethought from data analytics not only to avert obstacles but to achieve goals. It’s what Teddy would do.

We're always looking for feedback and would like to hear from you. Please head to the Dynamics 365 Community to start a discussion, ask questions, and tell us what you think!