Choosing the right platform for the job

Choosing the right platform for the jobData analytics will continue to become an important source of comparative advantage for organizations across industries and they need the right resources to make it happen.

A recent study has found that six in 10 business leaders in Hong Kong believe that more revenue streams can be unlocked with new data insights. In fact, the importance of it is outlined in the same report with 50% of respondents already engaging certain digital transformation initiatives for parts of their business. 

As more companies in Hong Kong look towards business intelligence (BI) and data analytics platforms to raise business efficiency and implement insight-driven decision-making, the question that always pervades the minds of business leaders is ‘how does one pick the platform that best suits our needs?’

The recent Gartner Magic Quadrant for BI and Analytics Platforms has spoken and the answer to the right platform is its ability to be easily adopted and widely deployed by an organization. While most organizations within Asia Pacific (excluding Japan) recognize that big data and analytics are key enablers for business success, business leaders need to address this difficult decision despite the numerous modern BI and analytics platforms available. Here are some tips to get you started:

The easier, the better

The first and most crucial attribute when selecting a platform is how easy and intuitive it is for vendors and end users to deploy, learn, and use. While ‘ease of use’ is often subjective based on different user skills and expertise, the ease of administering and deploying the BI platform is key to the success in using one.

Self-service platforms that offer intuitive visual-based explorative experiences for users to easily access, prepare, and analyze their data, without the need for coding, are usually the go-to platforms for businesses of all sizes. Automatic data mashups and drag-and-drop functions are some of the tools that can make a significant difference in simplifying usage.
On top of the end user experience, businesses will enjoy the benefits of 
having to spend minimal time and resources in training and recruiting the right talent. This is an advantage that leaders should not overlook, especially in Asia Pacific, as analysts have identified that the lack of data-skilled talent is one of the biggest challenges in the region.

Even here in Hong Kong today, the shortage of talent is one of the top five impediments to a successful digital transformation for companies. We see an apparent shortage of talent as the demand for data analytics specialists and other IT talents continue to drive the hiring environment in the Hong Kong service sector, for instance. Another fringe benefit is that organizations’ IT teams will not be tied up assisting users with content authoring and accessing analytics capabilities.

However, ease of use does not mean that the platform compromises on support for the more complex types of analysis and data models, rather its functions should be able to allow users to present them far more easily.

A strong support system

To better help users get comfortable and later skilled with their platform of choice, leaders will need to ensure that its chosen platform vendor offers a vast array of learning and support options. From the likes of online tutorials, webinars, and hands-on classroom-based training, extensive learning resources can help educate and empower users.