Real-time data analysis delivers key business insights so people can create informed business strategies. Analytics can provide numerous benefits such as cost-efficiency, increased productivity, and keep you feeling in control. However, to reap these benefits, it’s essential to choose a solution that addresses your specific business needs.
These are some important factors to consider when selecting a data analytics solution:
What are your unique requirements and pain points?
Start discussing pain points with your stakeholders to get a clear picture of company-wide needs. Understanding which issues you’d like to address can guide your decision-making. Oftentimes, a company’s pain points are industry-specific. If this is true for you, consider a vendor who can demonstrate success with similar businesses in your industry. While most comparison websites review common features between solutions, many do not address industry-specific solutions. For this reason, it’s a good idea to read the case studies on the vendor’s website to determine which industries they work with.
Is the software compatible with your ERP system?
Without access to one accurate source of information, it is nearly impossible to make informed, fact-based decisions. As such, it’s important to choose a solution that collects the data from your ERP system and other various silos, and consolidates into a single repository. This ensures you are getting the most value from your ERP and streamlines the integration process. For instance, Phocas is compatible with more than 30 ERP systems. The out-of-the-box integrations for popular ERPs are a great starting point, making it easy to get up and running quickly.
Does it provide pre-built content ready for your needs?
The next step is to ask the data analytics vendor whether the solution comes with any pre-built content created specifically for your particular needs. A number of self-service data analytics solutions have been developed to address the unique needs of key industries. Take, for example, Phocas data analytics has been developed for manufacturers, distributors and retailers. Pre-built content enables companies to measure key metrics for product-centric businesses. These types of industries must address issues such as declining customers, maintaining accurate stock levels without carrying overstock and product margin variance. Therefore, Phocas software provides hundreds of pre-built queries to address these pain points and opportunities, among others. An added benefit to pre-built queries is to empower new, nontechnical users to successfully use the solution. When a solution is intuitive and user-friendly, nontechnical staff will be more likely to embrace it.
Implementation and ongoing training - what is the final cost?
Before investing in a solution, it’s important to determine the compatibility with your ERP as that will effect implementation and set-up costs. Does the solution also need ongoing data cleansing and management, and is this included or does that cost more?
Most SaaS companies now offering subscription based models. However, it’s important to understand what level of support comes with the subscription and how easy it is to use or whether the business will need ongoing support of a developer.
Likewise, as your company grows, so too will your solution. So, determine any additional costs of scaling the solution to meet your changing needs.
While these are some of the essential factors to consider while you are researching data analytics solutions, other considerations you may find important are time to implement and security features.