How to Tell When You Need a Better Analytics Platform

May 20, 2017

Your analytics platform is responsible for tracking tons of different metrics. How those metrics are tracked, organized, and reported can have a massive bearing on your organization, directing your decisions and shaping your conclusions about your company’s performance. Any inaccuracy, reporting error, or delay in how your employees use the platform could have a negative impact.

The Onset of New Technology

On top of that, new technology emerges almost constantly; analytics companies are competing with each other to build the biggest, best platform, and new companies are emerging to disrupt the industry. If you notice a problem with your platform, or if it’s been a while since you’ve upgraded, you may consider the need for a new system. But how can you tell if it’s time for a better analytics platform, and not just a temporary or forgivable issue?

Signs It’s Time for an Upgrade

If you notice any of the following signs, it could mean that your analytics platform is due for an upgrade:

1. There’s a better version of your existing software.

Analytics platforms offer different strengths and weaknesses, and some are catered to specific industry applications, so it’s hard to compare apples to apples in most cases. However, there are some clear instances of an analytics platform being “better” than another. For example, it might offer all the same features for a lower price, or cost the same and offer an additional feature. Use a software product comparison site and follow tech news blogs like TechCrunch to stay on top of the latest offerings, and pay attention to new brands that come into the fold.

2. You’re having trouble training new people.

Anyone within your organization who’s grown used to a given platform will be too close to it to spot its inefficiencies. However, you can look at your analytics platform through fresh eyes by seeing how your new recruits react to it. When you train new people on your software, pay attention to how they respond to your instructions. Are they able to grasp the basics of the platform fairly easily? Do they have trouble following procedures? Do they seem comfortable with the app, or does it make no sense to them? This can be a reliable gauge for whether your platform is user-friendly, and if there are issues using it in a practical manner.

3. New demands have emerged.

A decade ago, “big data” was only a hypothetical concept. Today, we’re relying on big data for everything from marketing analysis to predictive trend forecasting (in almost every industry you can imagine). As your business discovers new areas where data isn’t being utilized, it will create demand for new functionalities. When they emerge, they’ll be treated as “wish list” items, but eventually, you’ll want to take action to acquire a platform that accommodates those needs.

4. The quality of your data has been scrutinized.

No matter how sophisticated your analytics platform is, there’s always room for human error—and of course, there’s room for machine errors as well (especially in the realm of predictive analytics). If you’ve noticed more than a few discrepancies, and it’s attributable to the performance, layout, or ease of using the platform, it may be time to consider an upgrade—especially if you have sufficient trust in the talent and experience of your teammates. Sometimes, a simple upgrade to a platform’s user experience is enough to give your company more accurate data projections.

5. Your software is underperforming.

The entire purpose of analytics software is to improve your business in some way. That might mean increasing efficiency by highlighting areas of waste or excessive spending, or finding the most profitable areas of business to improve. In any case, you pay good money for this software, and it should more than make up for that cost with its cost savings. If you discover that the return on your investment (ROI) isn’t meeting expectations, it’s time to go shopping for a new platform.

While some of these problems may be blatantly evident, you’ve likely become so accustomed to your current software that they’ve managed to slip past your notice. If you want to catch these signs with objective reasoning, it’s a good idea to run regular audits of your analytics department. Find out how your software is functioning, how your people are using it, and above all else, how much time and money it’s saving you.