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Evaluating Success of Analytics Projects vs IT projects

Like information theory, IT projects typically involve collection, storage, and retrieval of information. Due to that aspect, IT projects are usually projects that are required for a business to be able to deliver their products or services while analytics projects are those that enhance the current business activities. The projects are fundamentally different from their approach as well as the skills needed to accomplish these different kinds of projects.

IT projects are typically developed fully within IT and are built out as a solution to solve specific problems a business is facing. Analytics on the other hand are typically multi-disciplinary projects that are attempting to extract value by asking the right questions and using data to provide insight (Abdur-Rahman 2014). When looking at an analytics projects’ value there are a lot of non-deterministic outcomes that need to be framed with objective and measurable metrics for success. In an IT project, success is typically the creation of the product and solution itself. While it may have time and costs, its primary need was to develop a solution that satisfied a specific problem, like recording credit card transactions in a secured database instead of determining how often someone was purchasing items in return visits like an analytics project may look at for example. In an analytics project it is typical to want to gain better value from the data instead of simply figuring out the logistics of how to collect, store, and retrieve that data.

Analytics projects focus on determining what questions should be asked from the data and how that data could be modeled to develop new insights. IT projects typically have black and white definition of project success that involves being able to solve the problems of collecting, storing, and retrieving data. Analytics project on the other hand require upfront development of how to measure success to ensure the outcomes of the project support the original business questions and goals.

Author: Logan Callen


Abdur-Rahman, Pavel. 2014. “Why advanced analytics projects are different from traditional IT.” IBM, February 25, 2020.

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