Thriving in today’s highly competitive landscape means embracing a data-driven culture: bringing more science to the art of decision-making. But despite record investment in analytics, companies saddled with legacy data environments and skill sets struggle to achieve business analytics best practices that lead to actionable results.
Here’s where many go wrong: capitalizing on the promise of data and analytics is a journey – not a single step.
Exploding data volumes, poor data quality, and increasingly urgent demand can feel daunting – and too many programs stall because business leaders are unsure how to move forward.
Not surprisingly, Deloitte found 96% of executives are turning to experienced third-party providers to achieve analytics success – building a roadmap for short-, medium-, and long-term initiatives to mature their capabilities and compete in a data-driven world.
Don’t let bad data and insufficient resources stop your analytics journey
Across industries, businesses generate unprecedented amounts of data in the modern digital world. The ability to lean into that information to make better decisions and optimize performance separates market leaders from those who lag behind.
Data analytics delivers a quantitative view of business performance – transforming raw data from myriad sources into actionable insights that reflect KPIs and trends as they change in real-time. It ensures decisions are backed by facts and scaled in the right direction.
It also helps organizations identify patterns that can predict future trends, delivering new insights into consumer behavior and markets.
Forbes reports that 65% of global enterprises aim to increase their analytics spending, reaping benefits like improved efficiency and productivity (64%); faster, more effective decision-making (56%); and better financial performance (51%).
But with so much value available, why do only 13% of organizations believe they deliver on their data strategy?
The analytics skills shortage. The lack of data science skills within organizations ranks as a major obstacle to achieving business analytics best practices, Accenture reports - with more than half of companies finding it difficult to hire and retain analytics talent.
Poor data quality. Only 33% of organizations trust their data enough to use it effectively and derive value, Accenture reports.
Slow and siloed data sources. When information stays siloed in different departments, nobody is sure whose numbers represent the “right” truth. Legacy platforms also hinder the ability to capture and analyze different data types and deliver insights at speed.
The wrong tools for the job. Nearly 40% of organizations cite limited data analysis tools and technologies as a key obstacle to meeting strategic priorities, Deloitte reports.
How the right partner can help you achieve business analytics best practices
Sound familiar? But here’s the thing: Companies with strong data-driven cultures are twice as likely to exceed their business goals.
Strengthening your analytics stance is worth the effort of navigating these obstacles. And with the right expertise and support, starting a journey doesn’t have to be a bumpy road.
Access to critical data and analytics capabilities ranked as the biggest priority for outsourcing in Deloitte’s 2022 Global Outsourcing Survey – surpassing even cost reduction drivers.
With the latest technology, skilled resources, and deep experience managing end-to-end analytics journeys for a wealth of clients, reputable providers are experts at implementing and maintaining business analytics best practices that shape data-driven cultures.
Exceptional partners also understand that real analytics success is achieved in phases. They start with simple steps that deliver quick wins while following a long-term roadmap to fuel fact-based innovation for your company.
Here are 3 important ways the right provider can help start a successful analytics journey at your enterprise:
Identifying key business questions
With so much data available, exceptional partners start with a consultative approach designed to craft a vision and set of objectives for your analytics program. They are experts at cutting through the noise to identify key business questions you need data to answer to drive strategy and growth based on real-time facts, not opinions and gut instincts.
While most analytics providers are technical experts, the best partners also provide business expertise – helping you design KPIs and metrics that make the most sense for your business goals.
Look for providers who can function as strategic advisors, explaining decisions different data points can enable and building an analytics strategy that drives sustainable returns.
Data gap analysis
Missing, incomplete, or outdated data can derail your analytics journey, with executives ranking “gaps in data” as the third-biggest obstacle to realizing value from their programs, Accenture reports. Once your data strategy is defined, a provider will perform a thorough assessment, providing an external perspective with leading practices: learning what data you have, where it resides, where it flows, who uses it, and how.
Then, they will determine what questions you can answer immediately with available information and create a roadmap that solves data gaps. The best providers follow an agile delivery approach – implementing quick wins and identifying and prioritizing necessary changes to help you shift to a more data-centric culture incrementally.
For instance, setting medium- and long-term goals for making improvements to data accuracy and timeliness that enable you to answer other important questions.
Information that resides with third-party vendors is another common stumbling block to fact-based decision-making; for instance, many companies outsource shipping/logistics. Your analytics partner should effectively solve for extracting the data you need from third parties.
The right data architecture and support
Exceptional partners rely on agile, secure data platforms like Microsoft Power BI, creating visualizations that provide detailed visibility into your business. These dashboards should offer a 10,000-foot view as well as analysis that drills down into customizable niches like country, market, or single stores.
The best providers also build trusted data sources that consolidate data from different platforms – ensuring timely and accurate information flows seamlessly into your dashboards with the right summarization. Effectively harmonizing data is a critical service, a time-consuming but essential step that resolves issues stemming from inconsistent and disparate data sources like variations in data types, file types, naming conventions, or missing fields.
Finally, look for partners who prioritize flexibility. The best providers maintain a Center of Excellence (CoE) to manage dashboards and continuously collaborate with clients, adding new data points or strategic questions as business evolves.
Reap the promise of analytics at your company
Exploding amounts of data have the potential to trigger a new era of insight-based decision-making, backing up new ideas and directions with solid facts. But faced with data challenges that appear daunting, many businesses hesitate to start a journey toward a strong data-driven culture.
The right partner can help you fill your analytics gaps – delivering the resources, technology, expertise, and business analytics best practices to implement and manage your data initiative from start to finish.
Want to learn more about starting an analytics journey? Read our case studies for real-life examples of analytics transformation and schedule a consultation today!