Unleashing Profits with Strategic Analytics: Introducing the PROFIT Framework

Unleashing Profits with Strategic Analytics: Introducing the PROFIT Framework
Unleashing Profits with Strategic Analytics: Introducing the PROFIT Framework
Written by Heather L. Cole, August 18th, 2023

In a world driven by data, the quest for higher returns on investment (ROI) from analytic solutions is a common pursuit among executives. Surprisingly, the answer to enhancing ROI isn't solely in the tools themselves. After more than 25 years entrenched in the realm of analytics, I've uncovered a fundamental truth: the journey to optimizing ROI begins from the top. For CFOs, CEOs, CIOs, CTOs, and beyond, it's time for introspection. It's time to recognize that the key lies within you. Using our PROFIT Framework, I will shed light on this revelation... so you can Unleash Profits with Strategic Analytics.

The Basics: Shaping a Data-Driven Future

In the ever-evolving business landscape, the supremacy of data-driven decision-making is indisputable. The ultimate goal for any thriving organization is to amplify profits. But this entails more than just investing in tools; it requires a well-structured framework. The flaw in the strategy of too many companies lies in adhering to the "Build It and They Will Come" philosophy. Unfortunately, this approach works only in movies, not in the complex realm of analytics.

If you're eager to harness data and analytics to propel your profits to new horizons, then look no further than our "PROFIT" Framework for Analytic Success. PROFIT is a holistic approach that empowers businesses to unlock the latent potential of analytics, translating it into well-informed decisions that propel profits to uncharted heights. If you're searching for a transformation in your Planning, Budgeting & Analytics process—one that marks a pivotal shift in your profitability trajectory—circle Thursday, October 19th, 1:00-2:30 PM Eastern on your calendar. Join us for an event poised to reshape the trajectory of your business.

The Pain of Outgrowing Excel: Midmarket CFOs Discover Relief with IBM Planning Analytics

The Pain of Outgrowing Excel: A Path to Relief

In this event, we delve not only into the realm of outgrowing Excel or your existing planning and forecasting models, but we also unveil our PROFIT Framework for Analytic Success. The PROFIT Framework comprises six steps that serve as the pillars of your journey toward profitability optimization.

1. Precise Vision Definition: Illuminating the Path to Success

At the core of the PROFIT Framework lies the Precise Vision Definition. This initial step involves formulating a clear and succinct vision statement that becomes the guiding star of your journey. A potent vision encapsulates your organization's aspirations, goals, and core values, acting as the bedrock on which strategic goals are crafted. Every subsequent move is directed toward a shared purpose.

2. Rally Team Communication: Forging Unity in Purpose

However brilliant a vision might be, its potential remains untapped until shared and embraced by the team. The Rally Team Communication phase breathes life into your vision. It's the point at which you effectively disseminate your vision to your workforce. By fostering alignment and motivation, you create a unified front that collaboratively pursues your goals. Success in your analytics initiative hinges on the dedication and comprehension of your team members.

3. Optimize Data Discovery: Precision-Fueling Decision-Making

When your vision is embraced, the Optimize Data Discovery phase comes into play. Here, you orchestrate a Requirements Discovery Workshop—a platform for exploring the data prerequisites of your team members. This step ensures that your collected data isn't just vast, but also pertinent and in sync with your strategic objectives. As informed decision-making hinges on accurate and timely data, this phase takes a pivotal role in your journey.   (Reference our earlier blog on this topic.)

4. Formulate Advanced Analytics: Forging Gold from Data

Armed with the requisite data, the moment arrives to harness the potential of analytics. The Formulate Advanced Analytics phase is where your organization assesses prevailing tools and methodologies, uncovering ways to employ cutting-edge technologies. These technologies, including IBM Planning Analytics, Cognos, SPSS, and Watson, breathe life into raw data, transforming it into actionable insights. By decoding data into actionable intelligence, you forge a pathway for daily decisions that inherently bolster profitability.  (What is IBM Planning Analytics?) 

5. Increase User Adoption: Bridging the Success Gap

Yet, deploying advanced analytics solutions like Cognos and Planning Analytics is merely half the equation. For these solutions to catalyze profitability, they must be embraced by end-users. The Increase User Adoption phase, the fifth stage in the PROFIT Framework, centers on crafting a user-centric environment. It's a phase of comprehensive training, ongoing support, and an ecosystem designed for intuitive user engagement. By making analytics tools accessible and understandable, you cultivate an environment where users seamlessly integrate data-driven insights into their daily decision-making routines.  (Reference our earlier blog on this topic.)

6. Track and Enhance: Navigating the Path to Unceasing Profits

The final stage, Track, and Enhance, propels your PROFIT Framework to unceasing progress. Here, you perpetually monitor and evaluate your analytics initiatives. By tracking your trajectory, you glean vital insights into the efficacy of your strategies. Moreover, you're poised to identify realms for refinement, fine-tuning your approach to optimize profits. Given the dynamic nature of the business world, this stage perpetuates the evolution of your framework, ensuring it stays aligned with ever-changing demands. Indeed, agility becomes the crux, and the PROFIT Framework for Analytic Success unfurls a repeatable method to surmount business, industry, and global changes.

Ready for a Journey Toward Enhanced Profitability?

If you're primed to ascend your Planning, Budgeting & Analytic process, and unshackle untapped profitability, don't overlook our event on October 19th. The PROFIT Framework stands as the gateway to recalibrating your business through precise vision formulation, effective team communication, optimized data discovery, advanced analytics formulation, increased user adoption, and unceasing tracking and enhancement. Embrace the potent force of analytics and embark on a voyage toward fortified profitability and strategic decision-making.

On Thursday, October 19th, immerse yourself in an exploration of the PROFIT Framework. Here, you'll delve deep into its facets, glean success stories from industry trailblazers, and connect with peers who share your ardor for profit amplification. Secure your spot today, and together, let's drive profits to realms beyond imagination through the power of data-driven decisions.

RSVP for the Event Today:

Explore the PROFIT Framework for Analytic Success, dissect the pain of outgrowing Excel, and unleash profits with strategic analytics.

 Join us on Thursday, October 19th, from 1:00 PM to 2:30 PM Eastern for "The Pain of Outgrowing Excel: Midmarket CFOs Discover Relief with IBM Planning Analytics."

Reserve your spot here!

Unleashing Analytic Leaders: A Recap of Lodestar Solutions’ Business Analytic Success Bootcamp in Dallas

Analytic Success Bootcamp at the IBM Convention Center in Dallas

Exploring the Power of Analytics, Overcoming Obstacles, and Building Analytic Roadmaps

Analytic Success Bootcamp at the IBM Convention Center in Dallas

Written by Heather L. Cole, July 21st, 2023

The Analytic Success Bootcamp – By Lodestar Solutions

The recently held Analytic Success Bootcamp at the IBM Innovation Center in Dallas was an exhilarating two-day journey into the world of finance and analytics. Hosted by Lodestar Solutions, this event aimed to equip analytic professionals in IT and Finance with the knowledge and skills required to become Analytic Leaders in their field.  Attendees delved into the secrets of effective analytics, requirements discovery, and enhancing end-user adoption, gaining valuable insights into the power of analytics and the necessary steps to build a successful analytic roadmap.

Day One: Unraveling the Secrets to Analytic Leadership

The Bootcamp commenced with an engaging exploration of the path to becoming Analytic Leaders.  Participants learned how to effectively communicate their ideas and influence CEOs.  They learned about how people are wired, and the primary needs of Executives are Certainty and Significance, and that when we understand that we can become more influential.  Attendees also explored why end-user adoption is so slow and the VALUE formula that is key to increasing adoption and reducing time to analytic ROI.  The interactive workshops allowed attendees to apply these concepts to real-world scenarios, enabling them to see immediate benefits, while networking in person with peers.

Day one was full of laughs, learning, and even a visit from the IBM robotic dog named Spot.

Day Two: Overcoming Obstacles and Achieving Analytic Roadmaps

On the second day, the focus shifted towards overcoming obstacles that hinder the successful implementation of analytic projects.  The biggest challenge being inadequate Requirements Discovery. Heather Cole skillfully hit this reality home after letting the group spend some time playing with Legos.  Who doesn’t love Legos?  The Legos exercise accentuated the fact that even professionals who are regularly tasked with discovering requirements forget to ASK. 

Overcoming Obstacles - Duck Activity

Participants discovered that communication and workshops are the most efficient way to clear roadblocks and identify strategies to achieve their analytic roadmaps.  The Bootcamp proved invaluable as it provided practical solutions to the challenges they face regularly.

A Sudden Twist: When the City Turned Off the Water

Despite the enthusiasm and success of the event, fate had a different plan for the second day.  An unforeseen circumstance occurred when the city authorities turned off the water supply to the IBM Innovation Center, forcing the venue to shut down.  However, the team at Lodestar Solutions and the attendees adapted quickly, and the Bootcamp transformed into a speed version, ensuring participants did not miss out on any essential insights.  Huge thanks to all the local participants that tried to find us a backup room.

Zooming into Success: The Follow-Up Virtual Session

To ensure that the valuable knowledge-sharing continued, a follow-up session was arranged via Zoom. Participants enthusiastically participated in the virtual event, connecting once more to discuss crucial takeaways and learnings on becoming Analytic Leaders from the Bootcamp.

Key Takeaways

  • Better Understanding the People, You Need to Influence

One of the major highlights of the Bootcamp was the focus on understanding the key stakeholders involved in the analytic process.  Analytic leaders must recognize the motivations and perspectives of these individuals to effectively gain buy-in and support for their projects.

  • Unlocking the Power of Requirements Discovery

Despite being professionals who regularly conduct requirements discovery, the workshop revealed that continuous practice is essential.  Attendees engaged in hands-on activities and learned the power of the sticky note (only use super sticky) to hone their requirements discovery skills further.  They learned to leverage the sense of Urgency to get more done in less time.  And understand why at Lodestar we remind people that Analytic Success requires asking the right questions to elicit valuable insights from stakeholders.

  • Effective Meetings and "What's Your Number?”

Heather Cole, a Certified High-Performance Coach, provided valuable tips on running productive meetings.  Attendees learned the art of concise communication and how to encourage participation from all team members.  Additionally, the "What's Your Number?" technique offered a fresh perspective on gauging individual performance and promoting accountability.


Lodestar Solutions' Analytic Success Bootcamp held at the IBM Innovation Center in Dallas proved to be a resounding success, despite the unexpected challenge on the second day.  Finance, IT, and Analytic Professionals came together to discover the secrets of Analytic Leadership, requirements discovery, and end-user adoption.  The interactive nature of the event, even amidst unforeseen circumstances, ensured participants were left with a deeper understanding of analytics and the tools needed to overcome obstacles in their analytic roadmap.  As the first live event in years, it was a memorable experience for all attendees, setting a promising precedent for future engagements.

Huge shout out to all the attendees, you guys were amazing.  You played full out.  Shared your ideas and we are grateful. Now go change the world with Analytics.

Join the Movement!

Although we don’t have another event in the books yet, keep an eye out for a future announcement.

In the meantime, if you would like to level up your Analytic Leadership skills join our Analytic Success Klub (ASK).  

Enhance Soft Skills for Analytic Success: Defy AI Replacement!

Don't Let AI Replace You Upgrade Your Soft Skills for Analytic Success!
Don't Let AI Replace You Upgrade Your Soft Skills for Analytic Success!
Written by Heather L. Cole, June 13th, 2023


Are you tired of wasting money on fancy business intelligence (BI) and planning software that fails to deliver the promised results?  Well, we've got news for you—it's not the software's fault.  The real culprit behind the lack of analytic success is often a good old-fashioned communication breakdown.  But fear not, dear reader, for we have the solution to your predicament. Instead of mindlessly throwing more money at technology, it's time to invest in something that artificial intelligence (AI) can't replicate—your soft skills!

Time to explore how sharpening your requirements discovery, influence, persuasion, negotiation, and workshop facilitation skills can save your career from being replaced by AI.  And to kickstart your transformation, we invite you to our Analytic Success Bootcamp—a two-day extravaganza where you'll master the art of soft skills and influence factors. Seating is limited, so register today before the robots take over!

The Communication Breakdown Catastrophe:

Imagine spending truckloads of cash on state-of-the-art BI and planning software, only to witness your dreams of data-driven decision-making shatter as you witness end users dumping random data to Excel. Why does this happen?  It's not because the software doesn’t work—it's because you and your colleagues are failing to communicate effectively.  You are failing to create the vision and overcome end users' fears.  The truth is, those pretty pie charts and colorful dashboards look sexy initially but if they are not answering the right questions, they will not be used.   But the problem is your crystal ball and mind-reading skills don’t really work, so you MUST learn the art of overcoming communication breakdown and facilitation.

Reference: Unleash Your Analytic Leadership for Success: Boosting End User Adoption 

Soft Skills to the Rescue:

But fret not, for salvation lies in upgrading your soft skills!  Requirements discovery is the Sherlock Holmes of the analytics world—uncovering the hidden insights that even Watson would miss.  Influence, persuasion, and negotiation skills will transform you into a silver-tongued analytics superhero, armed with the power to sway even the most skeptical stakeholders.  And let's not forget about workshop facilitation—your ticket to orchestrating brainstorming sessions that will make your colleagues' minds explode (in the best possible way).

Reference: Persuading Your Executives to Adopt Analytic Solutions: Applying Pre-Suasion Principles

Executives, Speak Up:

Ah, executives, the grand puppet masters of the analytics realm.  Your strategic goals hold the key to unlocking the true potential of your analytic teams.  But if you fail to communicate your vision clearly, brace yourself for a deluge of meaningless reports and lackluster insights.  It's time to step up your game and learn how to convey your strategic goals with the finesse of a Shakespearean actor.  Paint a vivid picture of the outcomes you desire, and watch your analytics teams transform into decision-making powerhouses.

Introducing the Analytic Success Bootcamp:

Analytic Success Bootcamp

Now, it's time for the grand reveal!  Get ready to save your career from being devoured by AI at our Analytic Success Bootcamp—an epic two-day immersion into the world of soft skills and influence factors.  Our trainers are masters of their craft, equipped with the knowledge and wit to guide you through interactive sessions that will leave you craving for more.  Heather Cole has over 25 years of experience in the analytics world, but she is also a Certified High-Performance Coach, Executive Coach, and lawyer, but don’t hold that against her.  Heather’s unique background and energized presentation style makes this a one-of-a-kind event.  This is the only Analytic Success Bootcamp she has committed to leading so you don’t want to miss it.  Picture yourself in a state-of-the-art IBM Innovation Center in  Dallas on June 27-28, surrounded by like-minded individuals, all eager to catapult themselves to Analytic Stardom and leading AI for good not evil.

But heed our warning—seating is limited, and the machines are advancing.  If you want to safeguard your career and unleash your analytics prowess, register for the Analytic Success Bootcamp today!  Don't let AI be the Grim Reaper of your professional life—rise above the robots and become a soft skills virtuoso.


In a world where AI threatens to steal our jobs and render us obsolete, soft skills become the ultimate armor for analytics professionals.  Stop wasting your hard-earned money on BI and planning software that falls flat due to communication breakdowns.  Instead, invest in yourself and upgrade your requirements discovery, influence, persuasion, negotiation, and workshop facilitation skills.  The Analytic Success Bootcamp is your golden ticket to mastering these essential soft skills and becoming an indispensable asset in your organization's quest for data-driven success.  Seating is limited, so register today and embark on a journey that will save your career from the clutches of AI.  Remember, the future belongs to those who can communicate, collaborate, and conquer with the power of human intellect!

Unleash Your Analytic Leadership for Success: Boosting End User Adoption

Unleash Your Analytic Leadership for Success Boosting End User Adoption
Unleash Your Analytic Leadership for Success Boosting End User Adoption
Written by Heather L. Cole, May 25th, 2023

In the ever-evolving world of finance and analytics, being a true leader means equipping yourself with the skills and knowledge to drive analytic success.  One powerful way to achieve this is by attending our Analytic Success Boot Camp with your team.  It’s a two-day, in person analytic boot camp that will get your team energized and focused on game changing initiatives.  In this blog, we will explore why analytic executives should invest their time in such an opportunity, focusing on the key aspects of analytic leadership, analytic success, and end user adoption.  Let's dive in and discover how this adventure can transform your analytic initiatives and tie them to your company's strategic goals.

Discover the Power of Analytic Leadership:

As an analytic executive, stepping into the role of an analytic leader is crucial.  Attending the boot camp will empower you to become an Analytic Avenger, leading the charge in leveraging data-driven insights. By optimizing your analytic leadership skills, you'll position yourself as a strategic driver within your organization. (See our Analytic Leadership Video)

Drive Analytic Success through Requirements Discovery:

Requirements discovery is the key to unlocking analytic success.  At the boot camp, you'll learn how to channel your inner Indiana Jones to excavate the hidden gems of requirements within your organization. This process ensures that your analytic initiatives align with the strategic goals of your company, propelling you toward success.  (See our blog, Stop Requirement Gathering and Start Discovering Requirements!)

Increase End User Adoption:

What good are analytics if they're not embraced by the end users?  The boot camp offers invaluable guidance on boosting end user adoption. By sprinkling your analytics with the right magic dust, you'll captivate and engage even the most skeptical employees, creating a data-driven culture that drives results. (See our blog, Stop Spreadsheet Anarchy)

Tying Analytic Initiatives to Strategic Goals:

Analytic initiatives should never exist in a vacuum.  At the boot camp, you'll become a strategic goal mastery expert.  You'll learn how to tie your analytic initiatives seamlessly to the strategic goals of your company, positioning yourself as the ultimate strategy sleuth.  This alignment ensures that your analytics have a direct impact on the overall success of your organization.

Networking Opportunities:

Attending the boot camp opens doors to valuable networking opportunities.  You'll have the chance to connect with fellow analytic enthusiasts, share experiences, and build professional relationships.  These connections can become allies and mentors on your journey to becoming an Analytic Guru.


Investing your time in a two-day Analytic Success Boot Camp with your team is a game-changer.  It propels you into the realm of analytic leadership, ensuring your success through requirements discovery, driving end user adoption, and tying your initiatives to the strategic goals of your company.  Remember, embracing the power of fun and networking along the way adds an extra flair to your journey.  So, put on your analytics cape, step into the role of an Analytic Avenger, and unlock the true potential of your analytic initiatives.  Get ready to lead your team toward a data-driven future and achieve unparalleled success.

Take the First Step

Seating is limited for the two-day Analytic Success Boot Camp held at the IBM innovation center in Dallas on June 27-28th.   So, take the first step today and get registered!

Seating is limited!!!

Note this event is not open to GOE or IBM resellers.