Business Analytics Tools are not Pokemon – you don’t have to “catch ’em all”!

Pokemon logo over Pokemon card collection

In early June, I attended the Gartner Data and Analytics Summit in Mumbai, India. I attended the summit as a representative of one of Minerra’s key technology partners, Yellowfin. With their Indian partner Aptus Data Labs, we engaged over 100 attendees with some great conversations about business intelligence, business analytics tools and the challenges of both.

In our conversations, one theme quickly emerged. Many people visiting the Yellowfin booth had a similar conundrum: they had many different analytics tools (usually three or more) in their organisation and wanted to consolidate down to just one tool.

Over the two days, the number of people coming up to us with this issue was so numerous that we began calling it the “Pokemon Problem” – it appeared that many organisations treat analytics tools like Pokemon and feel that they have to “catch ‘em all”!

Why so many analytics tools?

The reasons why organisations “suddenly” had so many different analytics tools varied but over the course of the summit, some similar explanations emerged:

  • Different tools were acquired as a result of mergers and acquisitions but nothing had been done to standardise one analytics tool across the merged organisation.
  • Organisations had a loose or non-existent policy about the purchase of analytics tools within different departments, so each department purchased the tool they wanted despite different tools already existing within the organisation.
    • This is also a consequence of poorly governed self-service business intelligence.
  • Organisations had an existing analytics tool, but the existing tool did not have the required functionality. As a consequence of this, it decided to buy another analytics tool and use both tools in parallel rather than creating a plan to migrate from the old system to the new.
  • One organisation even said they purchased a new analytics tool because a newly employed data scientist did not like the existing analytics tools.

Why is this a problem?

The problems cause by collecting many different analytics tools were:

  • Confusion and inefficiencies among consumers of analytics content. There was a huge burden on staff to remember how to use many different tools to access the information they need to monitor performance and make decisions. This also led many users to use the analytics tools just to download raw data so they could later analyse the data using Excel – the one tool they know well. This also increased the risks associated with ungoverned analytics content being used in the organisation.
  • Low productivity for analytics developers, either because additional developers are needed to ensure that the organisation has expert skills for all the analytics tools, or the existing developers have to know all tools, which leads to them having only a moderate level of skill with all tools rather than being expert in one tool.
  • Increased licence and maintenance costs for the organisation because they have small licence holdings with many software vendors rather a large licence holding with one vendor, which may lead to overall lower licence costs.
  • Increased operational costs because IT departments have to provide and maintain multiple sets of infrastructure for each analytics tool, particularly if the tool requires a server to distribute the content.

In my next post on this topic, I will provide the responses we gave to attendees – how you can solve the issue, and where you can start.

Steve Remington – Principal Consultant and Founder, Minerra

Is your organisation using multiple analytics tools? Are your employees making the most of these tools? Are some of these tools perhaps redundant, or have too many overlapping features? Minerra can help assess your needs and weight them against what you have to provide you with a plan to streamline your analytics tools. Contact us for a casual chat to see how we can help.

Image Credit: Jarek Tuszyński via Wikimedia Commons

Analytics and Data Driven Marketing: What are the analysts saying?

Marketers were among the first departments to start utilising data and analytics to inform strategy and tactics. They had to go where the audience was, and when the audience moved online, so did marketers. The internet, social media and mobile technology have all influenced the way data driven marketing get their messages out to their target audiences, and the way they measure success. The digital marketing mix now has to include a web presence, social media accounts, and content generation and distribution as basic tactics, and all these have to be analysed and measured.

Marketers constantly have to answer these questions; What is your ROI? What are your most successful marketing channels? What is your cost per lead? How are your best leads scored? Is the sales team focusing on these top leads? Are the leads being generated aligned to the type of leads the business needs for continued growth and success? These are all questions that can only be answered with data and analysis.

The Future Of Data Driven Marketing

According to Gartner, more than two-third of marketers plan to base most of their decisions on analytics within two years. It is no longer acceptable for a sophisticated marketing strategy to be formed based on ‘gut feel’. Plans and tactics should not only align with overall business strategy, they must be informed and optimised by data driven marketing.

Their analysts have also identified four key traits marketers should have for success in data-driven marketing: empathy, agility, accountability, and a focus on data hygiene and integrity. High-quality data will aid marketers build dynamic programs that meet business goals.

Forrester’s analysts have identified the need to balance analytics with engagement. Data must be evaluated and then engaged with in the most effective way to create an impact on revenue and the bottom line. While many marketers are utilising analytics, they need to be able to tweak, adapt and change tactics to really ensure that they’re using the data to improve the marketing function.

Forrester also emphasizes the need to create deeper relationships with customers through technology – “business intelligence (BI) solutions; cloud infrastructure to reduce cost and be more agile; marketing tech that offers a real-time, single view of the customer; customer experience processes; and specifically useful to the next wave of relationships, artificial intelligence that will drive a conversational relationship with your customer”. Traditional advertising fails to create deep, conversational relationships – Forrester predicts the end these marketing channels.

Analytics and data visualisation platforms can certainly help marketers understand and analyse data in order to make data-driven customer-centric decisions. Real-time data allows for the marketer to be agile and test and tweak plans to ensure success. Engagement data allows the marketer to build deeper and more meaningful relationships with customers – whether engagement occurs via social media, sales teams, or through product usage.

There is a depth of information just waiting to be tapped, you just need to get started.

Wherever your marketing department is in your analytics journey we’d be happy to have a no-obligation consultation with you to see how we can help you meet your business goals. Contact us at our details here.

Analytics: Are you ready to take the leap?

Minerra Article Analytics Ready To Take The Leap Hero Image

Analytics, big data, business intelligence.

These buzzwords entered conversations in organisations a few years ago now, but not many people know what they mean.

As information technology has pervaded every department and every business process, companies have generated a tremendous amount of data. From small businesses to international conglomerates, every organisation generates data that, until fairly recently, has been simply accumulated and stored. And until you can access, interpret and understand this data, your organisation is missing out on the opportunity to use this information to augment and make informed business decisions.

Analytics is a vital tool to support the decision-making process. This article provides a few succinct examples of how businesses of any size can benefit from analytics:

  • It’s much easier to make informed decisions.
  • It’s a structured way for growing revenue.
  • It increases the competitive advantage over other players in the industry, including larger businesses.
  • It improves the productivity of their business operations.
  • It enhances the quality of their customer service.

So why wouldn’t you leverage your data to gain these benefits? There are many perceived barriers companies face when thinking about approaching analytics:

  • I don’t think my company wants to spend money on this yet.
  • We don’t have the budget for this.
  • I don’t know where my data is.
  • I don’t know how to get to my data.
  • I don’t even know what is being stored.
  • I wouldn’t know the first thing about sorting out the data.
  • I cannot interpret this data.
  • I cannot communicate this effectively to my manager/head of department/CEO.

With the right tools and the right approach, companies can easily overcome these barriers so they can leverage their data for competitive advantage.

We’ve written a short guide to help you think about whether your organisation is ready to take the leap. Click on the button below to fill in a quick form and get the guide delivered to your inbox.

Download our guide

If you think your organisation is ready to have a conversation about analytics, give us a call. We’d be happy to have a no-obligation consultation with you to see where your organisation stands, and how we can help.