8 tips for modernising your analytics platform

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Embarking on any change process is a challenging task for an organisation. Modernising (or in many case, actually building) your analytics platform so that you can handle real-time and predictive engagement with customers could, however, turn out to be an essential next step to getting value from analytics in your organisation.

As we work with customers on numerous analytics platform related initiatives, it will come as no surprise that some common themes emerge. In a bid to ensure that nobody has to reinvent the wheel in 2018, here are my eight ‘top picks’ of learning to consider when it comes to analytics platform modernization.

analytics platform modernization

Nobody has to reinvent the wheel in 2018.

1. Have a clear vision of the future and share it

Data and analytics are vital to organisational health. They allow you to understand more about the organisation and its customers, and therefore take action to improve everything that you do. Sharing this vision of analytics as a way to provide insights and improve operations will help to ensure that everyone understands the purpose behind your platform modernisation initiative.

2. Create a ‘burning platform’ for analytical use

A vision for the future — of analytics used to increase the health of the organisation — is essential. But so is creating a drive to change now. In this case, the rapid increase in the amount of data, and the spread of tools that enable business users to access self-service analytics, mean that the time is right to change. To succeed in this new world, it is vital to find the right key: the new or modernised analytics platform that will enable the organisation to engage in real-time with its customers.

3. Focus on clear ‘high value’ wins

This is likely to be especially important in the early stages, but it is also a good guiding principle. Focus your attention on the areas likely to give you the biggest ‘bang for your buck’, and above all, avoid trying to ‘boil the ocean’. This means, logically, that you have to establish a way of measuring value early on, and ensure that everything is tested against that.

4. Think big, but start small

Small steps avoid paralysis as a result of fear of the size of the challenge. Of course you need a big picture of where you want to end up, and you need to hold that up for everyone to see. However, you also need to start small, with some quick wins’ such as proofs of concept, to demonstrate value early on. These projects also need to reflect your organisational level of analytics maturity, so that everyone sees that they can be replicated. Trying to change the world overnight will not work, and will also lead to problems of credibility.

5. Do not be tempted to take short cuts early on

Quick wins are important in the early stages of a project, but not at the expense of the long-term vision or health of the project. Hold on to the vision, and make sure that every project and proof-of-concept is measured against it. Taking short cuts could damage the transformation and platform development in the longer term.

6. Modernisation as a whole is not a matter of technology

Yes, of course, your analytics platform is a technical piece of kit, and you do need to understand something about technology to scope and source it. But successful organisational adoption is not a matter of technology: it is a matter of understanding people, and ensuring that the new platform is consistent with organisational and cultural values, and fits with existing business processes.

7. Technology supports ideas, not the other way round

It is important to remember that a new and shiny analytics platform is not actually your end-goal or idea. Instead, it is something that will enable you to achieve your goal of understanding your customers, and being able to interact with them in real time, delivering a much better customer experience. It is, therefore, important to focus on the business problem, and not the technology. Doing so will enable better and more suitable scoping and procurement, but also ensure that staff understand and support implementation.

8. Use of an analytics platform should be spread through the organisation

For an organisation to become truly data-driven, the use of analytics must be routine, throughout the business. This means that it needs to be in the hands of those who understand the business, and not just data scientists. Analytics is for the masses, not the elite, and the tools and platform used should reflect that belief.

So, in the end, you may think that adopting or enhancing an analytics platform is something too complex, due to a lack of resources, or skills within the company. Or maybe you may think that your organisation just doesn’t need it now.

I would say the opposite. For any company, small or big (with or without analytics skills) is now the right time to start building an analytics platform. Products in the market are mature and some companies already embrace the concept of using analytics widely in the organisation, embedding them in pretty much every business process getting huge benefits and in some case reshaping their markets and putting the competition aside.

You need to act now, starting to envision your long-term goals and quick wins and establishing relationships with technology partners that can help to support users in this change. The perfect time and places to do so will be March 8th in Milan and March 14th in Rome at the event Road to Artificial Intelligence. Register now!

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About Author

Gianluca Menconi

Gianluca Menconi is a Principal Techical Architect that is focused on new technologies and new delivery models like BigData & Cloud. He usually answers customers' question about how the SAS platform can be used to solve their business problems and how to use the new technologies to build a more affective architecture. He also helps SAS customers to understand the power and the scalability of in-memory solutions like SAS Visual Analytics and Statistics. You can find him on twitter @gielletm or Linkedin .

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