How to make the most of advanced analytics
Getting and implementing actionable insights from your data is the nirvana for every organisation. But simply updating your analytics product isn’t the answer. Your analytics technology on its own may not be meeting the needs of your business – you need the right people and skills to interpret its findings, and invest in the technology, processes, training and even company culture to make the most of your data.
Here are the key steps to making the most of your advanced analytics.
- Invest not just in the latest analytics technology, but in the skill to use it well. Investing in the latest analytics technology is a good start. But you also need the skills to use it. To get the most out of any system, teams need to have up-to-date technical knowledge of systems that are continuously changing. This means continuous training and investment in developing your people’s analytics and insights skills, focusing on technical, functional and even behavioural skills. Your teams should have a deep understanding of the industry, including best practices and customer experience use cases.
- Develop the right methodologies, processes and techniques. Once you know what your analytics insight is telling you, how do you implement it? Invest in developing the right processes and systems to allow you to do something with the insights you have – if you don’t, they’re worthless.
- Invest in post-implementation support. Once you’ve implemented the actions that come from your data insight, you must support it, for example, through technology and tools maintenance and upgrades, query resolution, user guidance and training. This takes commitment, talent, and budget.
- Maintain a culture of customer-focus. For some organisations, a commitment to implementing the findings of analytics means a shift in culture, to a truly customer-focused organisation. That means developing organisational empathy to understand the customer experience, and a commitment to improving it. It’s much easier to gain real insight if you understand the motivation behind the data.
- Recruit the right people. If you don’t have the right people in-house, look at your recruitment strategy. You might have the most sophisticated analytics system in the world, but if you don’t have the people to work with it, your project won’t reach its potential. This is an investment – there is a talent shortage, especially in key markets like India and North America. There’s a fine balance between recruiting new skills into the business and upskilling the talented people you already have within it.
- Invest in – and manage - cloud-based storage. This is the big one. Most organisations have invested in moving to cloud-based storage, seeking a complete shift to predictive analytics, real-time actional insights and lower costs. And yet, their cloud costs are spiralling based on the amount of data they’re storing. The only solution to that is to reduce storage and depend only on real-time inputs and insights – but the truth is, few organisations are ready or prepared to do that. In reality, cloud storage costs will increase, so you need to track and report the benefit of data insights to make these increased costs worthwhile. That will take time, so you need to be prepared to budget for it.
Where do you start?
There’s no single solution to upgrading your skills and technology, but here are some guidelines on what to consider to get started:
- What do you want to achieve? Think about the return you want for your investment and not just from a technology perspective but from the business view. Don’t over-invest in something you won’t use, or that won’t give you the benefit you need.
- With that in mind, consider whether you have the right people, technology and processes in place to deliver the return you need. Identify where you have gaps in knowledge or skills, and whether you can put the processes and technology in place to maximise your ROI from your analytics investment.
- Upskill and recruit to fill the gaps, and plan for attrition. Hire to build diversity of thought, culture, background, industries and education; and promote a clear culture or purpose and achievement to offset attrition.
As with any major technology investment, when you’re seeking to build analytics capability, the products itself is only the start. You need the right skills, environment and strategy in place to achieve your business goals. Get it right, and the rewards will be a greater customer experience, improved efficiency, and, ultimately, higher revenues.