Top qualities to look for when picking an analytics provider
Added Friday 11 October 2019 by MHR Analytics
So you’ve decided to take the plunge. You know all of the great things that data analytics has to offer and you’re ready to take the next steps?
You do a Google search for “data analytics software and services”, only to be presented with 238,000,000 search results of providers who all claim to be the right match for you. The question is, with all the fishes in the sea, how do you know which one you should pick?
This blog will explore the key qualities that make up a great data analytics provider to help you narrow your search and ensure that your investment is the right one.
1. Strategic partner for life
It’s important that when you pick a data analytics provider you look beyond just technology. Although technology is central to helping to meet your business goals, it will only ever be as powerful as the support you have in the background.
For this reason, we live by the motto that you should pick a partner, not just a provider.
What’s the difference? Well, a provider by nature is an organisation that provides technology. Their job is to sell you an analytics solution, but at the point of sale, their job is complete.
On the other hand, a partner goes further than this. A partner will work with you after the sale and beyond to provide you with ongoing support. They endeavour to understand your business needs and concerns and act as a strategic advisor to suggest the best technology to help you reach your goals.
Your organisation is constantly evolving, and the chances are that the technology that is right for you now may not be five years down the line. With a strategic partner by your side, you can be sure that as your business grows you’ll have the support you need to get to where you want to be.
2. End-to-end provider
One of the traps to look out for is providers only offering one piece of technology as a solution.
If this is the case, it’s often a tell-tale that they may not have the expertise or specialist skills to provide you with the support you need.
As you progress along your data analytics journey, you’ll need different solutions to meet your needs, and chances are, opting for a provider that only specialises in one particular solution means that this relationship is likely to be short-lived.
This is why, although less common, end-to-end providers are the gold-standard when it comes to analytics providers. As the name suggests, they provide support at every stage of the process: from initially helping you to find the right solution for your data strategy, to implementation, right through to ongoing consultancy and training once you’re set up.
Often this isn’t made clear so always be sure to ask when having conversations with providers
3. Partnered with the best technology providers
Technology in the world of analytics is plentiful, with the constant influx of new gadgets and gizmos on the market, it can be confusing to know who to go with.
A rule of thumb is to go with what you know best. In other words, stick to providers that are partnered with the biggest names in the industry – think SAP, IBM, Microsoft and general leaders in the data analytics space.
Taking this approach rather than opting for bespoke, less well-known names minimises risk – especially when you’re just getting started. Providers that are partnered with the top dogs, have not only been vetted and deemed as worthy partners, but they’ll also be armed with some of the most innovative solutions on the market.
You can also add additional brownie points on a provider’s credibility rating if they have partnered with these names for 5+ years as this shows that they’re likely to have a long term and established relationship.
4. Speaks your language
Not everyone understands the business you’re in, but when it comes to choosing a provider, picking someone that “gets” you is non-negotiable.
With different legislations, protocols and concerns that are unique to your industry, it’s essential that your data analytics provider understands how these will impact your needs and strategy going forward.
The danger of picking a provider that has no experience in your industry is that you’ll have the job of constantly educating them about your unique requirements, and may find yourself having to work to fit the solution rather than the other way round.
Instead, you should look for a provider that has experience working with other organisations in the same industry or department that you’re looking to roll out data analytics in. It’s also an added bonus if they provide solutions that can be tailored to your organisation's individual needs.
If this isn’t initially clear, be sure to vet them before you make the commitment and ask them if they’ve carried out successful implementations with organisations similar to yours. If need be, ask for case studies or success stories in your industry to see how others’ experience has been.
5. Good track-record
Reputation is everything and you can save yourself from any nasty surprises by doing your research.
Look for a provider that has been in in the business for a long time to ensure that they have the experience needed to provide first-class support.
You’ll also want to understand the people that make up their business – ideally they will have a team of experts who specialise across a broad range of data analytics subjects. This may include areas like business analytics, data warehousing, planning analytics, predictive analytics, and financial reporting, in addition to expertise using specific technologies.
On top of this, happy customers are always a good sign. For added peace of mind that you’re in good hands, look for testimonials and evidence that well-known names make up their repertoire of customers.
Finding the ideal data analytics provider can be difficult. At MHR Analytics, we don’t just sell products, we work with our customers to understand their individual needs and identify the right technology to bridge the gap between where they are and where they want to be.
If you want to find out more, speak to one of our experts to discover how we can work with you to help you meet both your current business needs and future objectives.
0115 945 6000