Do Your Homework
Before you dive in, recognize that finding the right advanced analytics solutions for your organization’s needs can be a complex process. You will need a mix of tools, the right platform model, and a provider that is experienced in your niche. Know what to look for and ask:
- The Right Tools. There are a variety of tools to consider, and not all that are promoted as being “advanced” live up to the claim. One example: descriptive analytics, used to provide quantitative descriptions of the historical data. Another: heuristic analytics, which applies experience-driven knowledge to a problem. Look for solutions with a focus on predictive analytics, and understand that this new and rarified field of data science requires something special from the provider: unique skill sets.
- The Right Model: Cloud-Based. Is it a “classic” software solution requiring capex for hardware, installation, deployment and yearly updates – all of which increase your outlay? Or does the platform belong to the new generation of cloud-based (Software-as-a-Service) solutions that are installation-free, simple to use, and carry none of the additional baggage or costs of traditional software? Most experts would agree that the cloud-based model is by far the most flexible, efficient and scalable approach, with an innate thriftiness that holds strong appeal in today’s era of tight budgets.
- The Right Expertise. Is the vendor behind the solution a specialist or generalist? Common sense and experience dictate that you are always better off with a provider that knows your sector and understands its special needs, and brings along the expert team from business, technical, and operational perspectives.
With the right analytics tools, model and supporting experts it is now possible to look at data in new ways not possible with classic BI systems. Advanced analytics bring a “micro data” approach to the challenge of managing Big Data, capturing information in a readily consumable way to deliver answers that drive immediate improvements in your organization’s performance.
Once organizations “take the leap” and try advanced analytics, the return on investment is fast, with across-the-board benefits: savings, new revenue, improved efficiencies, higher productivity, and the assurance that every dollar spent is justified by a fact-based approach. Those who have struggled in vain for the same results from old platforms might stop and wonder, “What took me so long to jump on board?”
Government, like Big Data, is often portrayed as an unwieldy behemoth. To the extent that you master advanced analytics to bring your data to heel, it is within your power to control public perception of the real value you deliver.