Best practices

The Modern Analytics Checklist: Five ways business user can tap into data-driven analytics with ease

The data they want is there. Somewhere. But getting a business-data report from request to production can take weeks or even months. With the pace of business these days, that can be too long or even too late. So the trick is to help your business users get what they need on their own. Using the Incorta platform, you can help users get their own analytics within just minutes. And even let them experience uninterrupted data curiosity so they’ll gain more insight and make better decisions. 

To get started, here is a modern-analytics checklist with five ways you can reimagine your analytics and help your users become more data driven. 

1. Flip the analytics model on its head: start with user experience, not the requirements

The business user says, “I want to add sales data to my existing manufacturing reports and be able to drill down into daily transactions.”

 IT responds, “This will require a complex process of joining queries of billions of data records—by then it will be stale data, and you’ll only be able to view the summary level of transactions.”

Sound familiar? Instead of playing catch-up with user requirements, IT can evaluate how (and whether) the requested data enhances the user experience and use that understanding to predict future asks. This will help alleviate the constant pain of manual data manipulation and at the same time offer more flexibility and openness to the business.

2. Think generically, not specifically

Legacy analytics tools advocate stitching together multiple reports every time a user requests a specific report. Counterproductive? You bet! In addition, the process produces redundancy and even worse, mismatched data. Consider instead a more logical and outcomes-based approach. First, ask users what the final report solves, then connect the right data sets to avoid building multiple variances of the same analysis. You can drill down by:

  • Creating a master data set of specific data requests so you can access the right data when you need it 
  • Making a robust and secure mechanism to create a generic model that is accessed as many times as needed.
  • Using master dashboards and filtering for ad-hoc and self-service analytics needs.

3. Foster the love affair between tables and charts

Data leads to insights, and insights produce revenue opportunities. Help your audience quickly and clearly build actionable insights. The two core enabling visual analysis tools used today are tables and charts for displaying actual numbers and visual storytelling, respectively. But, without logical merging of tables and charts, users’ aggregates and drill-downs to row-level transactions are difficult.  Done right, users can:

a) Identify and filter out what they don’t need or dig deeper into an outlier.

b) Gain an at-a-glance understanding of high-level data through visualization of live data while validating it in the proper context.

4. Make room for future artificial intelligence (AI) in your data analytics blueprint

AI technologies help train your data iteratively. Predictive, algorithmic, and complex decision-management tools have made AI available to all for data access and analytic processing. In a recent Incorta survey, 94% of respondents said AI is a competitive advantage, but only 5% admitted using it right now.

If data is the new oil, then AI is the oil whisperer! Data scientists use AI technologies to access enterprise data, including third-party data for contextual and situational analysis. As your data grows, so do your data connections. Your analytics platform should help you answer all incoming queries, including data needs for AI.

Discover if your data is ready for AI—watch the “Four Techniques to Run AI on Your Business Data” webinar.

5. Track your analytics usage to make smarter investments in the future

Enterprises are now connecting smart analytics to monetizing insights. In retail, for instance, real-time insights lead to real-time contextual offers, particularly during peak times such as Black Friday. So it’s important to track the effectiveness of your analytics as it relates to departmental or staff performance. To amplify the benefits of data analytics, answer these questions:

  • What is the impact of your highest-utilized reports on your overall business?
  • Are dashboards providing your team with competitive advantage?
  • Are you able to justify your investment in analytics today, and how do you measure its  ROI?

To learn more about Incorta’s perspective on modern analytics, download The Modern Analytics Checklist eBook.