Establish the benefits of analytics before investing in a solution


Analytics can bring tremendous value to a business. However, investing in an analytics solution is often easier said than done. The key challenge is demonstrating the value of analytics without first investing in technology and resources. The solution? Take a results-based approach to establish the value of analytics by using it to solve real business problems -- without having to touch the software.

Challenges to getting started with analytics

When you’re getting started with analytics, you may run into some challenges. Some considerations include:

  • Is this going to work for my business?
    Every business and every problem are different. While you can read up on the benefits of an analytics solution, seeing it in action is different. It can be daunting to invest money and time in an analytics solution only to discover that it doesn’t solve your business problem.
  • We need help, but we just can’t afford it right now.
    Investing in an analytics solution, as well as the necessary resources to operate it efficiently, might not be feasible for your business. It's frustrating when you want to realize the benefits of an analytics solution but don’t have the funds to implement it.
  • Our business problem is urgent.
    You have a problem, and you know analytics can help you, but the issue needs to be addressed urgently, and there simply isn’t enough time to make the necessary investments to get up and running.
  • How do I get the investment approved?
    Organizations often have limited budgets to distribute across the business. Different departments, all with their agendas, vie for their own share. Building a convincing business case for an analytics solution can be tricky, especially if you’re pitching it to someone who isn’t familiar with analytics. You might find that there are a lot of “it coulds” or “it woulds” in your business case and not enough facts to convince stakeholders that analytics should be a priority.

Results as a service: Seeing value quickly and at low cost

The concept of a results-based service is pretty simple, and is an ideal solution for organizations that want to get on board with analytics but the reasons previously mentioned have stopped them. You start by providing SAS with a business problem and data, and SAS experts prove the capability of the analytics software by providing answers without you touching the software. It’s minimal risk and low investment, giving you answers to real business problems quickly, and at a low cost. As an added benefit, it can tangibly prove the power of analytics, which is often required to make a successful business case for further investment.

For example, a state’s department of transportation (DOT) saw a number of traffic accident fatalities as a result of treacherous road conditions. As far as business problems go, this is about as urgent as it gets. The state needed to develop an approach for modeling winter road conditions to determine where best to expend resources and provide prompt, accurate weather warnings for drivers.

The state DOT was skeptical as to whether a SAS analytics solution would help, because they had tried internal solutions with no success. As a result, they received pushback on further investment, hearing statements such as, “We’ve tried this before and it didn’t work.”

The state DOT got agreement to use a results as a service solution due to its low cost. By leveraging data collected between 2016 and 2018, SAS experts made more than 400,000 road condition observations with 98.9% accuracy. In addition to providing the state with essential information to address their immediate business problem by increasing motorist safety, results like these help build a strong case for future analytic investments.

The bottom line

With a results-based solution, the value and power of analytics can be demonstrated by simply providing a business problem and data to SAS. You don’t need to invest in any software, hardware, or headcount. The work is done for you - it’s a great way to see measurable results with low investment costs. Receiving tangible answers to existing business problems can also support a business case for future investments and help you take the first step into a fully realized analytics solution.

Read more about SAS Results as a Service and why you'd choose SAS for hosting.


About Author

David Annis

Director, Sales Support and Enablement (Cloud)

Dave Annis has been specializing in the field of data and business analytics for over 30 years. In that time, he has seen trends come and go, but one thing remains the same – organizations have the potential to get enormous value from analytics. Back in the 80s when Dave was starting out, cool job titles like “data wrangler” didn’t exist, and although he wishes they had (“assistant statistician” didn't have quite the same ring), he’s excited to see how Data Science has come into the limelight, and continues to grow.

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