5 Pitfalls of Taking a Product-First Approach to Analytics

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karthik-palanisamyIn this special guest feature, Karthik Palanisamy, Vice President of Analytics at itelligence, highlights how avoiding a product-first approach to your analytics solution implementation can help your organization avoid several common and costly mistakes. Karthik has been an evangelist for analytics/BI from both the business and technology perspective. He has experience with starting as well as developing analytics organizations/practices and driving change within companies to become an analytics focused organization. His experience covers both SAP and Non-SAP technologies. His background covers running teams on both the business and technology side as well as being both on the client and consulting side. This enables him to bring a unique perspective to his engagements and is able to connect with the customers effectively as he helps them define strategies. He has frequently shared his knowledge at various SAP conferences and SAP publications.

It is seldom a good idea to shop for food on an empty stomach, and just the same, it is never beneficial to make IT decisions when uninformed and starved for information. When an organization is craving a new analytics solution, impulsively grabbing the first appealing item off the shelf can lead to unnecessary stomach-aches for IT professionals and end-users.

Choosing a specific product as a jumping off point—then trying to make that solution fit into an existing system—is often an unproductive choice, and can lead to added challenges down the road. Avoiding a product-first approach to your analytics solution implementation can help your organization avoid these common and costly mistakes:

Neglecting End-User Needs

The financial and time costs of re-training end-users on new analytics platforms can impact your company’s bottom line and should be factored into any decision. Matching an analytics solution’s capabilities with end-user needs is the best way to ensure the long-term success and internal acceptance of a new analytics platform.

Overlooking Business Objectives

From sales to customer service to accounting and operations, your organizational departments are constantly looking for new solutions to streamline their business processes. Identifying the business objectives that have the most to gain from a new analytics platform before committing to a new product will help your organization prioritize its needs and get the most out of your new solution.

Imposing a “One-Solution-Fits-All” Approach

Just because one solution will help your sales team filter data to identify its most promising leads, that doesn’t mean that same solution will help your accounting department more efficiently process purchase orders and invoices. Consider the needs of all your organization’s operations and choose a platform that can support 80 percent of the needs. Then use value-based return on investment to make a decision on additional solutions for the remaining 20 percent of exceptions in your organization.

Ignoring Past Investments and Other Solutions Currently in Use

Before committing to any solution, your organization should first understand if it will replace, interfere with, or work alongside existing solutions. You should also determine whether your existing solution(s)’s capabilities are currently being maximized. The role and value of existing analytics infrastructure should be at top-of-mind whenever a new product is being considered.

Lacking a Long-Term Roadmap

With new startups popping up each day, claiming to have a magic potion to bring your company’s IT infrastructure into the modern world at a fraction of the cost, it’s important to not get caught up in the hype. Bringing on a proven, well-established vendor that has “seen it all” over the course of time can give you an immediate leg-up over competitors employing shiny new solutions that simply aren’t ready to handle the complexities of real-world business processes.

Gaining a complete perspective of your long-term business objectives and existing capabilities before building a roadmap for the future will help ensure your organization does not fill up on the latest, trendy analytics tool before finding out it’s too difficult for your end-users to digest. To avoid these pitfalls, steer clear of the ‘silver bullet’ solution and start by consulting with an experienced, trusted partner that takes the time to understand your existing landscape and your current and future needs so they can help guide a smooth transition into your next analytics journey.

Pulling it all Together

Consider these pitfalls as you embark on your analytics journey, and you will be well on your way to making an informed decision that will provide long-term value from an analytics solution in your organization. Analytics is a powerful tool that connects data, decision making, strategic consulting and user experience.


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