Why DIY Analytics Will Cost You More

Recently when talking to customers I’ve noticed a certain trend, that Analytics now seems to be “Do It Yourself” friendly. Just like at home, we feel it’s easier (but really we mean cheaper!) to tackle that project ourselves. With the new single vendor tools available and their marketing might, I feel organizations are being misled when it comes to achieving Analytics and Data Warehousing. There is a big difference between just doing Analtyics and doing it successfully.

While I’m not discouraging this or any attempt to get started with Analytics because it is important to your business. In some cases, I don’t agree that a DIY approach will result in ultimate success for an Analytics project. If you would like to know what I use as my success criteria for Analytics, you can find them here.

What is a DIY approach? It’s when an organization decides to implement an Analytics system as an operational expense rather than a dedicated project and avoids partnering with an experienced provider to help. Now there are situations where operational expenditure is the ideal approach but I have concerns with not using an analytics partner.

The reason why is this – I don’t agree that an Analytics system, a true data platform to achieve analysis and all the added functionality to support a business in all its decision making, is simple enough to design, architect, and implement to sustain the business and grow along with it. A DIY approach is underestimating the magnitude and complexity of such a system and isn’t considering the long term success.

This simply boils down to cost. The total cost of ownership should be considered at the feasibility stage of a project. I guarantee a DIY approach will result in 3 things:

  • Delayed deliverables and/or support ticket resolution
  • Re-implementation efforts or things being redone
  • Business user frustration

Also, when you are dealing with Enterprise systems such as SAP or Oracle JDE, the institutional knowledge a strategic partner can provide around the data and structures, about what is possible and not possible for reporting – could save you millions in change orders.

I consider the DIY approach when an organization looks to implement Analytics in one of the following strategies:

  • Hire an Analytics Director/Manager to implement an entire Analytics platform. This is a slow burn approach and generally, you will have hired a few more FTEs before any deliverables are met
  • Hire an Analyst to build dashboards/reports pulling their data from SAP ERP etc. instead of leveraging an Analytics platform. If a department head feels it necessary to hire a pure Analyst, it’s symptomatic of a poorly performing Analytics system or support team.

I feel these approaches are popular today because of the following:

  • There’s an illusion that it’s cheaper
  • Data management and ETL tools are more accessible and considered “business user” freindly
  • The “it’s good enough for now” mentality

I am certainly not against hiring to build up your internal team as you most definitely will need it. However, I offer the following as an alternative to this approach to doing your implementation:

  • The Initial Analytics implementation is a once-off task, so partner with an experienced consulting provider to keep the cost prudent. Hire a Director or Manager at this time to be a part of the implementation project and oversee it.
  • An internal team should then be hired to support the solution once it’s implemented
  • Leverage 3rd party support to meet the business demand and ensure internal team FTE is kept low as there is no need for a large internal team. If you implement your Analytics right, you will be drowning in requests from the business for data and news reporting.

Don’t be afraid to engage with an Analytics consulting partner when looking to undertake a project. At Blueprint Intelligence, we enjoy helping our customers get off on the right foot and ensure they will have success with their Analytics. We are flexible and can solve your business problems to your needs. Don’t hesitate to start a conversation with us – please reach out here.

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