Organizations are drowning in data. Business analytics tools provide a way to create order out of chaos, transform confusion into clarity, and turn information into insight. Analytics enables everyone in the organization to become proactive rather than reactive. Conducting analytics projects is what needs to be done to continually improve business activities.
However, there’s still a lot of confusion when it comes to business analytics. People use the term “business analytics” to describe:
- Reporting tools (like SSRS - SQL Server Reporting Services)
- Visualization tools (like PowerBI)
- Analytics suites (like ZAP, Targit, and Halo)
- Predictive Analytics systems (like Cortana and Azure Machine Learning Studios)
- Data stores (like SQL Server, Azure & Data Warehouses)
The most common business analytics tool in the world is Microsoft Excel. It slices. It dices. It pivots. People love it for its simplicity, but that’s also it’s limitation. Picking the right solution is essential, and can dramatically impact the quality of your analysis.
Selecting the right business analytics tools
How do you decide? This is an area where a seasoned business analytics consultant can be worth their weight in gold. On the surface, many business analytics tools appear to have the same functionality. The reality may be quite different.
Whether you work with an expert or not, your selection should be based on these 10 factors:
- How quickly you need the information
- How accurate the information needs to be
- How secure the information needs to be
- Where the source data is stored
- How much data you’re working with
- How frequently you want fresh information
- Who will receive the information
- How and where information should be presented
- How much automation you want
- Your time and budget constraints
For example, one of our oil and gas customers stands to lose $2 Million Dollars a day when well production shuts down. Using predictive analytics, they can minimize the chance of this ever occurring.
Other companies may use business analytics to improve forecasting or utilization rates. Speed of information is less critical, but important to the organization overall.
Key piece of advice
When we work with customers, if there is one thing we say repeatedly it is “start small.” Begin with a narrow focus, especially if business analytics is a new endeavor. Gain some quick wins. Prove the value. You can always expand the project scope in a later phase.
Author: Mark Hatting, Managing Director- Business AnalyticsOther articles you might be interested in: