30 Days to Data Analytics in the Cloud

By BDO Digital| June 01, 2018

Few can dispute that strategic business decisions should be based on data. With the cost of technology decreasing, and new innovative solutions making it easier than ever to leverage your data in the cloud, one would assume that every company would be jumping at the opportunity to get in the data-analytics game. However, our recent survey of midsize organizations suggests that only 19% of companies are actively planning their analytics/big data initiatives in 2018.

Despite the complex nature of a data analytics project, modern technology has made it possible to get started in as little as 30 days! So, why isn’t every organization diving into their data headfirst?

In my experience talking extensively to midsize business and IT leaders across a wide spectrum of industries, it’s clear that getting started remains the single biggest challenge.

Data Analytics 30-Day Quick-Start

Not to be confused with a “quick fix” – a data analytics quick-start goes beyond addressing temporary pain points by creating real business value, built on modern infrastructure that can support both short-term and long-term goals.

So, what does it take for a midsize organization to get their data analytics projects off the ground in just 30 days? Turning leading-edge technology into real-world business transformation will take more than grasping at the newest, shiniest solution. It will require the combined impact of processes, platforms, and competencies to truly make a difference. However, with the right approach, it’s entirely possible to get started in as little as one month!

Let’s take a closer look at what a 30-day data analytics quick-start can look like for your business:

1) Define a Business Use Case

Start simple and pick one idea that will help grow your business or improve company performance.  Data has the power to transform nearly every aspect of business, from customer acquisition to fraud detection to operational efficiency. Don’t let the overwhelming possibilities derail you from focusing on the end-game. Data is only meaningful in relation to what the organization is trying to understand. Identify which use cases will have the greatest short-term impact on business ROI and start there – there’s always room to grow once you’ve started seeing initial results! It’s also important to confirm that the appropriate relationships for analytics visualization and reporting are within reach for your particular use case before diving in.

2) Plan for Scalability

Document your reporting requirements and expected results based on your targeted use case. Then, map your findings to feasible technology investments and actions needed to deliver new insights. Gathering requirements through the collaboration of both business and IT from the beginning is a critical first step to ensuring the success of your solution.

In the interest of fast-tracking your results, a clear and documented understanding of the business goals and expected results helps to avoid ambiguity and assumptions mid-project, leading to more time and money spent reworking the solution. Having the right people in the room at this stage can help accelerate this process and develop a realistic approach to your data analytics roadmap.

3) Utilize Infrastructure in the Cloud

The foundational step to building your data analytics dashboard is creating a scalable platform in the cloud. By leveraging the power of the cloud, you can eliminate manual processes and benefit from greater speed-to-implementation, automation, and better data quality. Not to mention, the cloud is where tomorrow’s technologies will be built. Companies with data analytics in the cloud can more readily embrace the next innovations to come.

4) Rapid Dashboard Development

Modern technology such as Power BI and Tableau makes it incredibly easy to access data with easy-to-read visualizations. Once your data is in the cloud, establish data connectivity and allow your cloud platform to automate the rest. In the interest of getting off the ground quickly, we recommend building 1 – 3 reports centered around the use case defined in the first step. This will allow your organization to realize immediate results, and then you can continue to spin up more dashboards over time.

Congrats! Your data analytics dashboard in launched and your business can start benefiting from data-driven insights right away. Getting started is the hardest part, but after 30 days, you’ll be armed with the success of your first project to continue to build out your data analytics capabilities in the future!

Data that Differentiates Your Business from the Rest

Data analytics has become a mainstream idea, but it has yet to catch up to becoming mainstream in practice. Companies that recognize they have a narrow window of opportunity to launch themselves ahead of the competition with real-time data-analytics in the cloud are poised to succeed in today’s fast-paced, data-driven world.

The essential guide to data-driven