What’s the best way to get involved with using data analysis and analytics in your midsize organization?
I talk with many successful leaders of medium-sized businesses on a regular basis. Many of the smaller organizations I talk to have revenue between $50-500 million. Many are in manufacturing and distribution businesses throughout the midwest. Most of these entrepreneurs want to know how analytics can help them grow their business.
My conclusions are based on having spent the past 20 years working in emerging technology markets with both large organizations and organizations that lead their smaller markets. Over 50% of all mid-market organizations use or are in the process of implementing advanced analytics. The research I read focuses on companies with revenue between 10 million and 1 billion dollars in annual revenue. Ninety percent of large enterprise-level clients are using advanced analytics in some form or another.
I believe Watson Analytics can offer a great opportunity for implementing advanced analytics for your midmarket or small organization. I chose Watson Analytics for several key reasons that I will share in hopes of helping you get involved in building a smarter organization, starting today. (If you’re already intrigued and want to try Watson Analytics, learn how to sign up for the free edition here.)
1. Affordable data analysis
Watson Analytics is a low-cost alternative to many of the other products that are in the market. Pilot programs are the secret to implementing new technologies successfully. You can get start with the free edition and then get into Watson Analytics for less than $100 per month. This is a great point that can help you decide if your organization can gain from using an analytics tool.
Watson Analytics offers a robust, flexible solution that can help leaders better understand the potential analytics tools can unleash. You can see successful examples shared through open page histories. This is a very fascinating way of sharing clients and partners’ success stories with potential customers.
Another point in favor of Watson Analytics is there is significant training available at low or no cost. There are several hundred undergraduate programs that are helping their students learn how to use Watson Analytics. This should help close the data science gap very quickly.
With a little work and luck you can hire an intern to help bring you up speed. Many times, this is the first step in keeping cost structures in line until you see the capabilities these tools can provide your organization. I will tell you that what these students are doing with the tool is amazing. It puts my old Texas Instruments Scientific calculator to shame.
2. Easy data analysis
Watson Analytics is a very flexible platform that can be expanded to add additional capabilities, making it easy to import your data. It’s built to be very intuitive for the new user, using simple questions and instructions to help you get your questions answered. It also provides significant visualization capabilities to help you share your findings with others in the organization.
I’ve seen this myself: when people start to use Watson Analytics they become very proficient at it very quickly. Its natural language processing capabilities will change how you work with your computer applications.
The other advantage of the platform is that it’s cloud based. Cloud based means it requires limited involvement and support from your IT organization. They have many more important projects that need implementing. Somehow, I always end at the bottom of IT’s priority list, so that’s another reason I like cloud based!
I know of several CFOs who use Watson Analytics to better understand the costs of purchasing decisions they want to make. They also feel better able to evaluate sales forecasting and their organization’s capital requirements. All of this allows the CFOs to manage their businesses better.
3. Leading-edge data analysis
Watson Analytics is built on a platform that will continue to evolve and grow over time. I’ve been involved with many great emerging technology companies in my career. Sad to say, many have not made it or were acquired and then their technology roadmaps were abandoned. IBM is committed to staying on the leading edge of advanced analytics, acquiring a portfolio of companies to support Watson Analytics growth.
IBM has invested $30 billion in advanced analytics. This investment ensures they will continue to help this product develop and grow. IBM’s bigger strategy supports adding key capabilities to this product that will help midmarket organizations continue to thrive into the future. I believe from my conversations that small to midsize businesses are critical to the organization’s ongoing success and growth.
4. Data analysis for people like you and me
I don’t want to insult Watson Analytics, but the product is designed for people like me. An entrepreneur who wants to make better decisions faster… and cheaper. For this reason, I recommend the product for many of my smaller clients, as well. In the right hands, it can help provide organizations a giant-killer in their markets if results are an early indicator of future possibilities.
Want to learn more?
About the guest blogger
Tripp Braden’s corporate clients include many of the world’s most successful leadership brands. He partners with clients, transforming their organizations by reimagining their recruiting efforts and succession programs for the digital age. He has proven success recruiting, assessing, and onboarding executives that match clients’ unique culture and business goals. Tripp does strategic recruitment and team building for privately held early stage, high growth, and mid-market organizations. He understands the unique challenges privately held and family led organizations have in recruiting, onboarding, and retaining executive leadership.