Analytics hub: How to choose the right one for your organization
4 min read
Without a single source of truth, organizations attempting to access cross-departmental reports and dashboards suffer from costly IT labor, low adoption of existing tools, and low confidence in any information extracted. Even if each department uses a unified portal, dashboard technologies between these departments often differ, creating incompatibilities and lag. No matter how much time and effort organizations put into managing data, if it is decentralized, accurate and actionable business intelligence will remain out of reach.
But what is business intelligence, really? It’s the story of your data, behind all the numbers and spreadsheets. It’s the concise information that enables real organizational change, regardless of how many people or processes are involved. It’s the real-time summary that saves you time and money, spurring growth in the right direction. Good business intelligence is clear, detailed, and accessible.
With an analytics hub, you can leverage dashboard data from across your organization into a unified and responsive interface—a single source of truth. You can view favorite dashboards, gather feedback and discussion, filter content using metadata tags, and more. Each available software solution provides different capabilities, so how can you choose the right hub for you?
How to select an analytics hub
There are eleven elements to focus on when selecting an analytics hub. We discuss them below in alphabetical order:
• Chat and communication. You should be able to integrate chat tools to simplify discussions about your data.
• Customization. This includes things like the ability to pin dashboards, change default formatting, ability to do brand items on a team level, branding etc.
• Dashboard discovery. How easy is it to find and access dashboards and reports?
• Ease of use. Your analytics hub should be clear enough that users don’t have to go through extensive training sessions to begin using it.
• Integration of BI tools and cloud software. Your analytics hub should connect smoothly to the other services already in use by your organization.
• Mobile accessibility. Users should be able to take the hub with them wherever they go.
• Organization. If your dashboard onboarding process is broken in other BI tools, your analytics hub should streamline the process and be a single location your users can onboard.
• Performance and updates. Performance should be seamless and dashboards should update/refresh in real time.
• Price. Every solution comes at a different price. It’s up to you to look at the program holistically to decide what fits your budget.
• Support and service. If something goes wrong, it’s important to have a team in place that can help.
• UX. If the hub is hard to navigate, you risk low adoption rates.
There are also a few big-picture themes to consider:
• Customer experience is king, so strong integration of diverse software (Tableau, Microsoft PowerBI, Qlik Sense, BOBJ, OBIEE, ThoughtSpot etc.) is vital to a successful hub where end-users feel comfortable. The modern user expects simplicity and personalization; they want to interact with data in a comfortable, uncomplicated way and be able to customize an interface on a whim.
• Consistency is more important than ever. Productivity and speed require reliable, accessible, and accurate resources. With the proper hub in place, your users can focus their efforts on one single source of truth, instead of trying to balance data across multiple platforms.
• Collaboration is essential to how people work. Commenting on and interacting with data is the new normal, and your hub should make this as easy as possible.
• Change is a process. No analytics hub is the perfect solution; whichever you select, successful integration will require planning, training, and change management.
Implementing an analytics hub
After using the criteria above to make your selection, you can implement your analytics hub in as few as six weeks.
Nick Kelly is the Director of Visual Analytics at Logic20/20. He is a hands-on leader in analytics with over 16 years of international experience in analytics and software development, deployment, adoption, and user experience.
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