If you’re planning to invest in new data analytics software, you’ll find a wide range of options from a growing number of vendors. However, you want to find the solution that is the best fit for your business needs. It’s not an easy decision, but if you have some idea of what kind of results you wish to achieve, you can start by ensuring that your final choices provide the in-demand features that allow you to get the most from your analytics software.
At the very least, your analytics tools should provide you with a strong, flexible reporting platform that can provide answers when you need them and track progress along the way. Here are some of the other features that will help you get the most from data analytics and improve your business going forward.
You or your staff will often be faced with making decisions outside of office hours or on the road. You need the ability to access to accurate information 24/7 if you're going to stay informed and make data-driven choices. Putting off decisions until you get back to your desk could cost you some valuable opportunities or leave you oblivious to a looming problem. Your analytics software should allow you to access information from any device, anytime, anywhere.
Data visualizations, such as graphs or charts, can tell you at a glance where you stand on some key metrics. The human brain processes visual elements far more quickly than text or columns of numbers. A variety of easy-to-understand graphical elements can communicate this even to those without any data science training. A central dashboard that's customizable and automatically updated can keep everyone in the organization informed and aware of how critical business areas are performing in terms of specific figures and scorecards.
Drill Down and Roll Up
Your reporting tools, including dashboards, should allow users to drill down to levels of greater detail or roll up to more broad perspectives. For instance, if sales are down eight percent over the last quarter, you'll want the ability to drill down and see where sales are coming up short. Web-based interfaces and interactive graphics will let you explore that data immediately to see what's driving those aggregate numbers. It should also allow you to quickly and easily apply filters to view particular subsets of data, such as only sales in the Midwest or purchase history from a particular vendor.
Flexible Data Sources
It will also be advantageous if your choice of data analytics software is fully compatible with the systems you already have in place. You will save time, trouble, and money if your analytic tools can integrate with the data schemes you're already using. This could be payroll or accounting systems, CRM, ERP, and even desktop databases or spreadsheets that can provide value to your analytics.
Service Call Reporting
One of the keys to creating repeat sales is providing a great customer experience. A feature that tracks and measures your customer service team on a regular basis can be a great asset. You should be able to compare performance across time frames as well as drill down to specific calls, agents, and their notes. This ensures a level of transparency that you can use to train your customer agents, whether you're using full-time staff or volunteers.
Clear and simple dashboards or reports are important, but you may also want the opportunity to do some real in-depth analytics to make projections or discover insights into marketing or customer relationships. You may or may not have data scientists or business intelligence experts on your IT team. The data analytics software you choose should provide a user interface that allows a simple approach to utilizing more advanced analytics techniques for staff or managers to run the ad hoc analyses they want. This might include forecasts, trend analysis, clusters, pattern recognition, gap analysis, performance comparisons, and more.
All the above capabilities are useful features in data analytics software. Your software should be user-friendly to provide more collaboration and value for users across the enterprise. At the same time, it should be flexible enough so that you can customize it to your own business requirements for producing both fixed and ad hoc results for monitoring and problem-solving. With a well-rounded set of features, you can rely on your analytics software to make informed decisions that will lead to a more streamlined business environment.