In this second part of our series on deciphering common data platforms and tools, we share our top 3 tips to help you choose the right solution for your needs. It's a must-read if you're looking for a data solution.
1. Buyer Beware
Not all platforms and tools are created equal and there are diverse approaches to technology, integrations, functionality, and services. We can’t stress enough there can be quite significant differences in platforms and tools, even within the same type of platform, as well as overlaps across categories. If you didn't read the first part of this blog, it's worth reading to understand why we say this.
2. A Little Data is a Dangerous Thing - it needs to be democratised
Before you start looking at possible solutions, we’d highly recommend talking to representatives from across the business (Tech, Digital, Ecommerce, Marketing, Trading & Operations, Product, Merchandising, Customer Services, Finance, Legal) to scope out what you want from a solution.
If you're wondering why it's because unified data is immensely valuable in any business. It enables a data commonwealth; the value of which is far greater than the sum of the parts.
Your tech stack is the engine to power, and connect, all your data so a disciplined approach pays dividends. Multiple, disparate systems, point solutions, and data stores in your tech stack aren't the most cost-effective or efficient. It creates complexity if you want to unify data (customer, sales, stock) and provide a consistent, trusted, single view that’s accessible to the whole organisation. Getting the most from your investment with a solution that meets the needs of the wider organisation now, and in the future, is common business sense.
Here are some pointers to help you consider your requirements as a starting point for initial research and discussions.
What platforms and tools are currently in place and what are they used for?
How is data currently integrated, processed, maintained, accessed, and analysed?
What are the data sources, volumes, and types, and where is data stored?
Why are you looking for a new solution - what are your pain points?
What do you want to do with your data and how may your needs change in the future?
What workflows need to be supported and automated?
Who will be the users be, what are their personas (who, what, why, numbers, skillsets, access requirements, speed of data), and specific use cases?
What will success look like?
Open-source vs proprietary systems, cloud vs on-premise, batch orientated vs real-time stream processing, buy vs build
Ease of integrations (out-of-box API or custom builds) and implementation, ability to scale
Timescales, budget, terms of business, service delivery requirements.
3. Make Sure the Dog is Wagging the Tail!
There’s lots of amazing tech in the data solutions marketplace. We know as we’ve researched and adopted many in the data integration, data warehouse, data lake, and BI software space!
It’s easy to be blown away by marketing messages, even so, it’s like buying a new car – a shiny front-end can be impressive but it’s what’s under the bonnet that differentiates performance. Check the engine can power, connect and transform all your data for your needs and the mechanics know what they're doing and can service your needs.
Can Datitude help you?
Ultimately your choice of solution will depend on numerous factors including your business size, budget, resources, current set-up, essential requirements, and most importantly, the use cases you want to solve. There's a wealth of solutions in the market and you will find one that meets your needs.
If you'd value some expert input along the way, we’ll happily give you our honest, and straightforward, view on all things data, including what might be the right solution for your needs and budget, recognising our platform may not be it.
Equally, if you just want to talk through the pros and cons of PowerBI vs Tableau, cloud vs on-premise data storage, data warehouse vs data lake, we’ll happily chat. We’ll even buy the coffee!
If you’re looking for a complete solution to integrate your trading and customer data from multiple sources and transform it into a single unified view, with dynamic reports, dashboards, and rich analytics built-in and automated as standard, plus a choice of front ends, ask us for a demo of our customer and retail data platform.
It's a hybrid solution; combining data lake and data warehouse, systems integration, and business intelligence in a single managed solution.
We process raw data into standardised, highly validated, and user-friendly data models, making standardised reports, insights, and extracts fast, reliable, and repeatable...
…we keep all the raw data too so it can be queried directly by the data scientists among you to gain new insights…which can then be standardised for end-users into the data warehouse.
It’s what we call data with attitude!
Wishing you every success in your search for a data solution.