by Ryan Bardo

The first thing that must be looked at before a company decides to implement an analytics program is how the company uses business intelligence to make decisions. This will identify the right analytics program to implement, and most importantly how the data will be used for actionable insights.

Understanding the decision making process will lead a company to use analytics in one of two ways:

  1. Reporting
  2. Analysis

Companies who recognize the difference between these two attributes before they implement an analytics program will run a successful and invaluable program. So what is the difference? Lets start with reporting. Reporting is geared toward companies with de-centralized decision-making where large amounts of data are needed for leaders to process and arrive at a decision. On the other hand, analysis based analytics tells the decision maker what action to take based on the data reported. This type of analytics program is good for centralized decision makers who do not want to spend a lot of time sifting through mountains of data to obtain actionable insights.

So why is this important? It is important because some analytics programs are built to provide in-depth reporting and some are built to provide analysis. Consider this scenario: A company spends millions of dollars on a web analytics application and consulting to implement. After the implementation is complete the company finds that the program is not good at in-depth reporting, which is what the de-centralized decision making company needs in order to make strategic decisions for the company.�

We have come across quite a few clients who have had this happen. It was devastating to their business intelligence program, and it can take years to get the program back on track. The takeaway is to make sure you understand the company culture before you invest in an analytics program. Once the culture is identified it is a much easier task to identify the proper tools to implement and how they should be implemented.