It’s nearly impossible to have a conversation about running a business today without mentioning data analytics. According to the research firm McKinsey, “The more companies approach analytics as a way to improve their current work and teams, the faster people will adopt new tools and use them to drive impact.” While that might sound a bit vanilla at first, there’s actually some important substance to it.
Organizations sometimes treat investments in data analytics as abstract. In order to drive return on investment (ROI), however, companies should first think about how tools are concretely going to fit into—and help transform—operations today. By following the path of least resistance (allowing data to show you the way, without forcing anything), enterprises can leverage analytics for short- and long-term gains.
But how are you supposed to choose a data analytics platform when there are so many options out there? While having so many choices can be intimidating, it’s ultimately to your advantage if you’re willing to put in a little work. These are some tips for how to choose a data analytics platform.
Easy to Integrate Data Sources
When it comes to evaluating data analytics platforms, you really want to prioritize ease and flexibility when it comes to data integration. Especially at larger organizations, you’re probably going to have multiple data lakes and warehouses storing your data. For many enterprises today, these are going to contain different types of data, from different sources, saved in different formats.
To get a hold on all your raw data, you need to have a data analytics platform with the power and flexibility to handle it. ThoughtSpot is an example of one cloud-based analytics provider granting this kind of capability to its users. You’ll be able to bring data from across the board—whether it’s from SaaS apps, in-house apps, or cloud repositories. But that value is multiplied when disparate data can be instantly integrated, fueling fresh insights.
Assess Your Organizational Needs
When deciding on a data analytics platform, you first need to take a thorough look at the actual needs of your organization. This is another place where that seemingly mundane McKinsey quote really hits the mark. The first consideration when adopting new data analytics tools is to create value for an organization, its shareholders, and its employees. What’s the point of buying the most expensive, bleeding-edge data analytics platforms if you don’t have a way to use them yet?
Here’s a place where it makes sense to consider the benefits of cloud-based tools. When you’re opting for subscription-based analytics platforms, you can typically scale up and down based on the current needs of the enterprise. Therefore, you can readily access the tools you actually need right now, while not having to pay for the whole package. This route also allows you to seamlessly scale up your analytics with evolving organizational needs.
Will It Be a Democratizing Force?
Data democratization is one of the biggest topics in analytics today. Simply put, organizations that effectively democratize their data analytics processes are at a distinct advantage to those that fail to do so.
The reason democratizing data has been identified as a key differentiator in corporate success is because enterprises that do this well can alter the DNA of their culture. In the past, decision-making inherently resided with those who had the most organizational power. While data was present, it was neither applicable nor universal in the way it is today. Making data the backbone of strategic planning accomplishes a few things:
- Employees are more engaged, as they have the ability to improve both their own workflows, as well as contribute to enterprise-wide initiates.
- It’s far easier to quantify the success of projects based on the abundance of hard data available to users.
- Over time, data becomes the go-to resource for making decisions, which effectively puts to rest the subjectivity of past, ineffective management styles.
With so many data analytics platforms out there today, you should be able to find one that will accommodate your enterprise needs. Take some time to understand what your company actually requires for success before signing up for anything.