In business, you have access to so much data that it can be scary. With loads of information coming at you, how do you know where to start? It’s easy to get buried under it all and feel haunted by the overload of information, not knowing where to start digging in to improve business operations.
That’s where advanced analytics comes in.
Advanced analytics is autonomous or semi-autonomous examination of data using techniques and tools that typically go beyond business intelligence (BI). It serves as an umbrella term for several sub-fields of analytics that work together using predictive capabilities. High-level methods and tools project future trends, behaviors, and events, giving organizations the ability to put together “what-if” models and calculations in effort to future-proof aspects of their operations.
Advanced analytics—which includes data mining, big data, and predictive data analytics—affords you the ability to gather deeper, more strategic, and ultimately more actionable insights from your data. While traditional analytical tools show you where you’ve been, advanced analytics zeroes in on where you might go next, offering insight into what might happen based on several future opportunity options.
Newer technologies including machine learning and artificial intelligence, as well as visualizations, are included as advanced analytics. In fact, advanced analytics involves so many disciplines and has such a broad applicability that there are multiple uses for it, including marketing, inventory and warehousing, and manufacturing.
With that in mind, it seems as though every organization should want to dig in to advance analytics to help solve complex business problems.
But not everyone is keen to jump on the advanced analytics bandwagon. Which may seem surprising. What’s not to like about being able to examine your data for deeper insight?
Face Your Fears
Still, a lot of CFOs maintain misconceptions about advanced analytics:
- They’re expensive
- Take a long time to deploy
- They are complex and cumbersome
Maybe you’re in that camp too. Perhaps you’ve resisted implementing advanced analytics because you fear the same things. Well, if that’s you, allow us to take some of that fear away.
Myth #1: Advanced analytics are expensive
If you’re sitting on a pile of valuable data and not digging into it due to concerns over investing in advanced analytic software, you could be costing yourself more. Your data is your greatest goldmine for discovering answers to your future by appropriately processing your past.
Many enterprise resource planning (ERP) programs merge easily with external resources that are not only reliable, but also economical. The benefits will fast outweigh the cost once you are able to spend less time doing the grunt work and more time understanding the report results.
Myth #2: Advanced analytics take a long time to deploy
Yes, some software does take a long time to deploy. Rolling out your first ERP—or changing over to a new one—is a long process that can take months to move through . . . and that’s when it’s done properly.
Not so with advanced analytics. Many of these platforms can be implemented in a matter of hours, sometimes less, and start crunching your data almost immediately.
Myth #3: Advanced analytics are complex
While advanced analytics are designed to use sophisticated formulas and calculations, they use those to put easy-to-decipher data in front of the end user. In fact, many advanced analytics user interfaces are designed to allow people with various backgrounds utilize data to find answers to their questions. Software solutions can even guide users through techniques by helping select and process the relevant information from multiple resources.
Despite the technicality of what advanced analytics may be performing in the background, the end user’s experience will be easy to navigate.
Even after the myth-busting, if you still break into a cold sweat at the thought of advanced analytics, don’t worry. We’ve got a great way for you to dip your toe into it.
Start by collecting the data you need to analyze. This may have typically been a laborious process for your company. Data is housed within an ERP (or two) and other disparate relational databases that don’t all like talking to each other. Thus, assembling your data may have meant several data dumps and many hours manipulating it into the format you need. If the data updates at any point during this process—say you get a late invoice payment that still credits toward the month you’re working on—then you have to start the entire process all over again. Maybe that process has you running scared. If so, we’re here to help.
With insightsoftware’s best-in-class reporting platforms, you can connect data from more than 140 ERPs and EPMs along with other relational database into one automatic report that lives within the familiarity of Excel or displays in an easily accessible web-based dashboard.
Our solutions use dynamic links to pull real-time data from your ERP, link it to other data sets, and return the exact reports you need based on secure and easy-to-assemble parameters. Best of all, our platforms build on your existing Excel knowledge or follow simple drag-and-drop dashboard creation. No need to be a developer or call IT to create your reports. So collecting, organizing, and updating data for your analytic processes can be a fast, automatic, and worry-free experience.
Reports are easy to update with a single mouse click. View month by month, or quickly aggregate larger data sets by quarter or year. Return data for a single account, a range, or search using a wildcard. It’s all designed to give you quick and easy insight into your data so that you can spend more time finding the story behind it and forecast for the future.
Get more insights about how companies are successfully using analytics. Download our free whitepaper, The Future of Analytics in the Finance Function to learn more.