What consulting firms need from analytical software

What consulting firms need from analytical software

Consultancy firms and system integrators are starting to productize analytics. They’re creating turnkey solutions for customers and adding value to them by offering managed services. If you’re thinking of creating an analytics solution for your customers, there are three things you need to think about when choosing a BI vendor to partner with.

1. Strategic alignment

The interesting challenge I see for organizations entering this market is finding a technology vendor that you can work with who is strategically aligned. That’s because there aren’t many global software vendors that will allow you to run managed services with their products because they are running a managed service themselves. For example, Qlik, Tableau, and Power BI are all running their own managed services for customers.

To have the ability to scale, you need to be able to enter commercial terms with a vendor that will let you take the product you want to market. For example, if you initially build a procurement analytics solution, you don’t want to enter new commercial terms with a BI vendor when you build a supply chain analytics product or a warehousing analytics product. 

To deliver managed services you need a vendor who has the flexibility to enter the commercial terms that you need. As the customer isn’t buying a BI solution - they’re buying turnkey analytics - you may want to white label the product as part of your solution, for example. You also want to make sure that the vendor can give you the level of support that you need

When choosing a BI vendor, make sure they’re committed to working with you and are aligned with your strategy. Do they value your business? Will they compete against you in the future? Will they work with you to bring new products to market effectively? 

2. Technology fit

The second thing to consider is whether the technology that a BI vendor is offering fits within the stack that you envisage. Does it play nicely with all the other products that you'll need to bring this product to market? Also, make sure that the technology matches your internal skill sets so you can manage this product effectively and efficiently. 

3. Functional fit

The final thing to consider is functional fit. Initially, you may think about your product in terms of a small set of requirements. But the reality is your customers will have experience with other enterprise software and analytical solutions, so they may come to you with a breadth of need that you didn’t anticipate. It’s important to make sure a BI vendor has all the features and functional requirements that your customers may demand ticked off before you enter a relationship. 

If you consider the problems you’re trying to solve - you want to deliver insights as quickly as possible to your customers and minimize your internal workload to deliver those insights. These are two competing constraints. To deliver an end-to-end analytical experience for your customers, you’ll need a range of tools to solve these two problems. 

You’ll need to be able to build content like dashboards and reports. You’ll also need to be able to discover insights as part of your analysis. Automated discovery can reduce your costs by using an algorithm to analyze data as quickly as possible and alert either your customers directly or your analysts internally to changes that are meaningful to the business as they happen. Then you’ll need a mechanism to be able to communicate those insights that you glean from your analysis. This can be delivered either as a long-form narrative or as a presentation that you provide back to the business on a regular basis. 

If you can get all three of these things in one solution, you can minimize your costs and deliver an exceptional customer experience.

Compare top embedded analytics platforms side by side

If you're going to offer analytics as part of your product, take a look at end users' evaluations of top analytics products in the G2 Crowd comparison guide. Download the free guide.

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