I invested in a shiny new tool/technology…

You hear this quite often.  We all love to share the excitement of a new purchase – be a new car or a new gadget.  Feelings from purchasing a new software are no different.   Organizations tout on their investment in a new tool or technology, soon to realize that they have not achieved the full value or benefit from their investment.  There is a perception that investment in tools/technology is the answer to all the problems.  Well that is just the beginning for solving the problems.  There are two important questions that I tend to ask:

1) Was your selection the best for solving the problem you were aiming to solve?

2) Have you invested the right resources or people to derive the full value of your investment?

Let’s focus on resource and people investment in this blog post.  Quick note on the first point – IMHO,  there is no one single tool that can solve all the analytics problems for any organization.  I know some would disagree on this statement – but it is true.  If you think you are solving 100% of all the problems within the entire organization (not just a department), then you are probably missing out on some unknowns.  There will always be a tool that solves most of the problems, and incremental tools that are used to solve the niche’ problems.

Let’s come back to the people side of analytics.  Number of thought leaders have emphasized on the need to invest in people, but none have spelled or tied it to success for the investment of the tool/technology.  Analytics Evangelist at Google, and my good friend – Avinash Kaushik came up with the 10/90 rule.  If you are investing $10 in tools/technology, invest $90 in people.  This is a great start and an ideal goal for any organization in achieving the full value of their investments.  Having talked to organizations of all sizes, I think there is more need for an 80/20 rule for enterprise level implementations.  For organizations that rely on free tools, a 10/90 rule would be perfect – the investment is only on getting the technology/tool implemented correctly.  For larger organizations, it is about implementation, scaling and availability in addition to deriving value from the investment.  I tend to bundle adoption of the technology or embedding analysis from the analytics package within the decision making process as part of the investment.  Who wants a tools sitting under the desk with nobody using the tool or technology?  There is no thumb rule on how much should be allocated to technology vs. people.  Every organization is different and should decide what is best for them.  The key point is, people investments are as necessary as technology investments.

Additionally, for new technologies or tools – it is also about mindset and thought leadership.  Without these two elements, most organizations will deprive themselves from deriving the full value  of the tool or technology.  A good thought leader or evangelist will think about current and future needs, craft the best way to use the technology and the available resources.  New technologies, specially seen with “big data”, needs a mindset change – you need to adapt and adopt.

You definitely need the right tools to make your organization successful.  Additionally, you need good people (or can we say smart people?) who can do both the items – block and tackle, as well as move the mountains.  Good talent will do wonderful things for your organization, and will show innovative things that you have never dreamt of.

Move beyond investing in tools/technology.  Take a holistic approach to solving your analytics needs by investing the right amount in people and technology!!

Are you investing wisely and setting your organization for success?

Please share your thoughts.

Rahul Deshmukh

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