Analytics are evolving: The first generation, which was very IT-driven, gave way to a more democratized, self-service paradigm. This is being supplanted by the third, modern generation, where actionable intelligence is seamlessly infused into user workflows and into customer-facing software, services, and experiences.
Users want personalized analytics where, when, and how it makes sense to them. Businesses need to deliver this to their customers and internal users, while also grappling with countless data and security challenges. Connecting to multiple datasets, creating a single source of truth, securing the data, tracking internal usage, and a host of other hurdles stand in the way of companies looking to evolve their businesses and do more with data.
At Radial, we provide omnichannel support, fulfillment services, payments and fraud protection, customer care services, and more than 200 customers running their own ecommerce companies. We realized we needed to modernize our analytics program to get the most out of our data stores and deliver a world-class experience for our users.
How to lay the foundation for modern analytics success
Like many international companies today, the data churn at Radial is immense, with 29 fulfillment centers, 9 customer care centers, and a few different OMS systems to handle, plus more data coming in over time as the company grew and acquired other groups. These are challenges many other modern organizations must deal with. Modernizing your company’s analytics requires a platform that can handle a wide array of data coming from multiple different locations, and make it all make sense together.
Back in 2019, when we started revamping our analytics program, we had a few goals aimed at evolving the business at the enterprise level, including having a timely and accurate understanding of vital KPIs as well as driving collaboration between operational and transactional data. Ensuring the highest possible level of data accuracy was also top of mind — inaccurate data will spell disaster for even the priciest analytics deployment.
We knew the key driving change across the enterprise lay within our datastores, we just had to bring them all together to make sense of what we had. Centralizing and standardizing some of our data assets and creating a single source of truth was key to that process.
Whatever your industry or goals for revamping and upgrading your analytics implementation, a few important steps to take when choosing a platform and designing your plan are:
- Determine your analytics goals and interview your key users
- Identify the necessary data that will provide those insights
- Figure out correct delivery form for analytics (where should they live in workflows)
- Build single source of truth data model to provide insights
- Connect to data sources, perform analysis, interrogate results
- Infuse actionable intelligence into workflows
Radial delivers a modern analytics experience with Sisense
A unified analytics platform was key to allowing us to modernize our analytics deployment. After 26 years in the business and multiple acquisitions there were a lot of legacy and siloed systems in place. Sisense was able to help us connect to all of our datasets, use modern ETL/ELT processes, perform analyses on fast-moving datasets, and serve results to users in ways that made sense to them.
Before Sisense, users needed to log into five different applications just to access basic order-management or fulfillment information, fraud insights, or anything else they wanted to know. Now users have a centralized portal via the Radial Reporting & Analytics offering, with insights infused into the most-common apps that they use every day. They can even save their filters to see the same view every time they log in, streamlining their experience.
Making analytics seamless, almost invisible, to users is an important part of modernizing the analytics experience. No one wants to log into numerous pieces of software or switch between them to get basic information they need to do their daily tasks. Additionally, more users are interacting with analytics via mobile, so whatever solution you decide on needs to work on mobile. Features like Sisense Pulse alerts can also send notifications directly to users (by email or text message, for example), allowing them to get up-to-the-minute insights into vital KPIs in the ways that work best for them and suit their working styles.
When designing your own analytics deployment, it’s important to find a system that mesh with your users’ work styles. Bringing all the data together in one place is vital, but even the most groundbreaking insights are worthless if people won’t actually use the analytics you’ve built for them.
Actionable intelligence empowers users
Embedding analytics into the modern Radial Reporting & Analytics product allowed us to evolve our product and business, delivering top-tier analytics abilities to users. They have deeper visibility into their metrics — which are no longer siloed in a handful of different systems — via a self-service portal. Additionally, detailed documentation (almost like a data dictionary) for every data point gives users deeper understanding into how that data point was arrived at.
Analyzing user behavior has also given us the ability to determine which reports and analytics elements are most valuable. If we have designed a report and we can see that in a set period of time no one has used it, we can ask our users “Why are we running this report?” and double down on the reports and other features which people are interacting with regularly and getting real value from. This learning process also helps drive Radial’s Data governance strategy, helping us understand data retention needs by business area, availability of data (live vs archive), data separation and security, and more.
Building great analytics is only the beginning. Once you’ve implemented your system, you need to understand how people are using it, check in with them, and continue iterating to deliver the best possible experience.
Ask bigger questions with analytics
Analytics evolution drives business evolution. At Radial, finding the right analytics platform was a key to helping us build our top-tier analytics solution — but that’s just the beginning. Having empowered users to answer questions like “What has happened?” and “Why did it happen?” our next goal is to help users focus on the future, asking “What’s likely to happen?” “What should we do?” and create accurate forecasts they can use to plan for the future.
Whatever your company does, your users are already clamoring for actionable intelligence, embedded into workflows in ways that are easy to understand and act on. If you’re ready to modernize your analytics, look for a platform that can handle data from numerous sources, create a single source of truth, perform complex analyses, and deliver those results in streamlined, efficient ways. Then you’ll be on the path to empowering your users and getting the most out of your data.