8 Top Tips for Choosing Your Next Data Analytics Solution & Provider
You’ve identified that you want to take the next step with your data analytics – now what?
It can be stressful to be the person heading up a new analytics project because of the risks with costs and reputation involved. You want your project to be a success and to pleasantly surprise those it will impact.
If you research and plan as much as you can before getting a consultant involved, this will arm you with knowledge to enter discussions informed, and to make sure you achieve the solution you need.
This will involve identifying the pain points you want to eradicate and the goals you want to achieve. If you have at least a general idea of this, a consultant can iron out the finer points and configure the solution to your exact business needs.
Finding the right analytics tools and solution provider isn’t an easy task, but having an end goal in mind can help you decide on what and who will help you to get there.
Let’s look at how you can begin your next analytics project in a risk-adverse, cost-effective and impressive way.
Choosing a New Data Analytics Solution
Choosing a solution is very individual to every business. What works for one business or industry might not work for another.
The very first step is to think about what you are currently finding a challenge. For example, it might be taking your data analysts or scientists days to blend and prepare data, check its accuracy, and then compile it into a monthly report. Or the problem might be that your data is great, but your team finds it hard to uncover the information and insights they need to perform to the best of their ability.
Once you have identified your pain points, you can begin to research what tools are going to help eradicate them and empower your team to do more.
When you know some of the tools you could choose, you can begin to assess and review them to make your selection. Let’s look at how you could do this.
1. Review the Gartner Magic Quadrant
Firstly, to begin assessing data and analytics tools, take a look at the Gartner Magic Quadrant. It’s released every year and the tools are assessed by independent people to identify where the solution should be placed within Leaders, Challengers, Niche Players and Visionaries. It’s based on different factors and there’s usually 3-4 market leading solutions in “Leaders” including Qlik, Microsoft Power BI and Tableau. They’ve been in there for years and won’t be going anywhere anytime soon.
2. Review the Business Application Research Center (BARC) Report
It’s also worth looking at the Business Application Research Center (BARC) report. They contact a selection of users to identify the best solution and the best customer satisfaction for that technology.
3. Attend Events
Other good points of reference are data and analytics events and conferences. You can hear different keynotes and presentations about the different technologies, or you can find some technology partners to talk to. We like to be a part of those, like Alteryx Inspire, DataJam, Data Revolution Tour, Microsoft Inspire, and we’re a regular host of the Qlik Analytics Tour.
4. Read Articles and Reviews
You’ve probably seen all of the articles and blogs, “Qlik vs Tableau vs Power BI,” but they can’t give a definitive answer. Depending on what the author uses or is more comfortable with, you can get some biased views.
Some of those articles say that you need to be a data scientist to use Qlik. You don’t; people just don’t understand how to use it and don’t accept training and then use review sites to put other people off.
5. Trial the Software
With any potential solution, you should always evaluate it and make sure it’s the right technology. To do this, most technologies have a free version you can use.
Qlik offers not just a trial version, they offer a free desktop version for you to try. Download it here >
Alteryx offers a free trial and even a guided trial which means you can use it for a month, and you’ll also get some expert help with it. They’re just certain that if you try it for a month, you’ll love it and buy it.
By now you will have some possibilities for tools and platforms you could adopt. But who is going to advise you and help you to get started?
3 Ways to Find Your Solution Provider
Who you’re going to choose to help you get started with a new solution is vital. You’re going to be investing a chunk of money and you want to make sure it’s worth it, that you get quick ROI, and that the results will be long-lasting.
When it’s time to choose a solution provider, reputation is always a good place to start. Word of mouth. For Perfect Image, we’re proud that we’ve got lots of customers who’ve referred us into places. We aim to be long-term trusted IT advisors which means many of our customers have worked with us for years. This means we get to know their ways of working, their systems, their industries inside out.
To find and assess the right partner for you, follow these tips:
1. Visit Events and Conferences
Visiting events is also good, most partners will have a stand. You can go and listen to consultants and customers talk about what they’ve done with the tech and how they utilise it. You need someone with a consultative approach, rather than a straight up reseller, to make sure you get technologies that fit your business.
2. Certifications and Partnerships
Certifications and partnerships are a good indicator of experience. For example, we’re one of five Qlik Elite Partners in the UK. And the only one in the North East. We’re also a Microsoft Gold Partner and Alteryx Premier Partner. This means we have many consultants with the latest skills and demonstrable experience. While there’s no “best” solution, having a few options means we can give an agnostic view on solutions and create the best solution for you.
3. Established Reputation
How established an organisation is can also be a good indicator. Have they just started up? Do they only sell one product? Do they have many years of experience under their belt? What companies have they helped? It can be good to check their case studies page.
What about the consultants and solution architects you’ll be working with – have they done this kind of thing before? Are they willing to take the time to understand your industry, function and business’s specific issues and needs?
We’ve been established for 28+ years and in that time, we’ve worked with a variety of businesses in a variety of industries. It’s great because we learn all about that industry and you pick up pieces of information and ideas from everyone you work with. You’d be surprised the amount of times we’ve done a piece of work for a business and then later that experience has come in handy for a totally different business in what seems a completely unrelated industry.
While it can be a stressful task to begin a new project and implement a new system, it doesn’t have to be. We’ve worked with many companies as their trusted IT advisor to take the headache out of getting started with a data analytics solution. If you inform yourself as much as possible, you can have clearer and more valuable conversations to get what you want.
For example, to de-risk a new analytics project, we offer proof of concepts. this involves a minor investment to prove that the solution will work before you fully commit and can save you a lot of money in the long run.
If you’re feeling inspired and you would like to discuss anything in this article with one of our sales reps, please request a free consultation.
About Perfect Image
Perfect Image has nearly 30 years of experience in delivering and managing intelligent IT solutions, created from our unique blend of world-class technologies and specialist IT services. We act as a trusted advisor and believe in doing right for our customers. We help you to find the right solution to benefit your business – not our sales targets. Our dedicated teams of experts provide a range of services include consulting, training, team augmentation, support and managed IT services. You can be sure that your IT is in the best hands.