Your Team Can Make Better Data-Driven Decisions. Here’s How

    The best decisions are data-driven. In the past, business owners had to rely on instinct and guesswork when creating their business strategies. Now, they have access to state-of-the-art data analytics tools that are capable of making reliable predictions about every single decision and corresponding outcome.

    How do you get your team on board with this new technology? You and your team can start making better data-driven decisions by following four simple steps.

    Are You Making the Best Data-Driven Decisions?

    Most businesses already use some form of data analytics. However, not all businesses are making the most of this data. If the analytics tools you use are too basic, you may miss out on a number of important insights that will help your business succeed. Likewise, if your team doesn’t know how to collect, structure, store, retrieve or visualize the data effectively, then you’ll be more likely to make poor business decisions.

    To make the best data-driven decisions, you need more than just a few sets of data and a spreadsheet. You need to:

    • Collect high-quality data using the latest data engineering best practices;
    • Organize and normalize the data;
    • Analyze the data and identify patterns; and
    • Build a portal to share information with your team and allow them to collaborate on solutions.

    This is a complex and time-consuming process with a steep learning curve. That doesn’t mean it’s out of reach, however. When you work with a data analytics firm that specializes in generating meaningful data-driven decisions, you’ll help your team make the transition smoothly. Here’s how.

    Step 1: Collect Quality Data

    To make better data-driven decisions, take a look at your data engineering process. Data engineering is a system of collecting and preparing data for later analysis. In other words, your team needs to collect the right type of data, verify that it’s high in quality and configure it so that it’s easy to access and analyze.

    This is often easier said than done. If your team is used to collecting only a few types of data, they may not know how to properly incorporate and blend new data sets into the system—or how to tell the difference between high-quality data and flawed data. Moreover, these problems usually go unnoticed. Your team likely believes that they are collecting the right data already.

    To determine whether you’re maximizing the data collection process, consult an IT firm that specializes in advanced data analytics. These firms have experienced data engineers who can help you refine your system architecture. They’ll also offer you suggestions on which types of data you should (or could) collect and explain the benefits of adding these new data sets to your system. 

    Step 2: Organize the Data

    Once you’ve improved your data collection methods, you’ll need to organize your data. This step will help you make faster and more accurate data-driven decisions.

    One of the biggest mistakes that business owners make is jumping immediately from data collection to analytics. Unless you normalize the data first and ensure that it’s stored and organized properly, you’ll risk making inaccurate predictions. That’s because it’s difficult to blend and compare data sets that are stored in different formats or at different locations. For example, a key data set could completely change the outcome of your exploratory data analysis, but if your team doesn’t know where this data is stored, then it’s essentially worthless.

    To normalize and store your data properly, you should work with a team of experts to revamp your entire system. You must use a consistent data structure in every aspect of your business. A data firm can help you move all of your data to a secure location (like a data warehouse), format it, organize it and create backups as necessary. Your team won’t have to waste any time on this process.

    Step 3: Analyze the Data

    Data collection and organization are just the foundations of good data-driven decisions. If you want to generate truly novel insights, then you’ll also have to expand your data analytics process. 

    You should never take shortcuts with data analysis. It may be easier to input your data into a spreadsheet and generate basic visualizations, like pie charts or scatter plots, but that will only give you a shallow overview of the data.  

    Your business deserves better. With help from a data analytics firm, you can generate much more detailed reports and blend separate data sets together to identify hidden patterns. You may even use predictive modeling and artificial intelligence (AI) to see how your decisions will impact your business in the future.

    These advanced tools are complicated and take a great deal of time to learn how to use properly. Software licenses can also be expensive. By outsourcing the analysis process to a firm that already has access to these tools and years of experience using them, you’ll get all of these benefits with very little effort. This frees your in-house team to focus on implementing your decisions.

    Step 4: Share the Data through a User-Friendly Portal

    Usability can make or break your data-driven decision process. Even if you collect the best data, organize it perfectly, and use the most advanced data analytics tools, it won’t mean much if your team doesn’t know how to use the system. If they fail to upload data properly or aren’t sure how to generate reports, you won’t have the information you need to make the best decisions.

    A data analytics firm can help. Not only will they train your staff on how to use the new system, but they will also provide a user-friendly portal where your team can perform all of their tasks quickly and easily. You can customize the platform according to your team’s workflow. Data is collected and uploaded automatically and you can compare multiple datasets at a time. Reports are also easy to find and create.

    The system is designed with users in mind. Even team members with the least data experience can use the portal to perform very advanced analytics. It lets everyone make data-driven decisions.

    How to Make the Best Data-Driven Decisions

    While you can perform these four steps on your own, this process is time-consuming, expensive, and extremely complicated. It requires you to hire experienced in-house IT staff and build your own data storage systems and report generation platforms.

    Hiring an IT firm to handle this process for you is much more cost-effective. You won’t have to build your own infrastructure from scratch or maintain any equipment. You’ll also speed up the decision-making process. Within just a few weeks or months, you can dramatically improve your data analytics process and start making data-driven decisions that will propel your business forward.

    If you want your team to make better data-driven decisions, contact Tek Leaders. We provide every tool you need to collect, structure, store, retrieve and visualize your data. Our user-friendly portals make the process as simple as possible, no matter how much experience you have. If you want to learn more about the services we offer, you can reach us by email directly.

    Author: Devender (Dev) Aerrabolu

    Devender (Dev) Reddy Aerrabolu is the CEO of Tek Leaders. His goal is to help SMBs bring value from their data. Dev helped Tek Leaders grow from scratch into a $25 million enterprise by focusing on clients’ data needs.

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    5 Questions When Considering Fixed Cost IT Support

    Fixed cost IT support services can take a ton of work off your plate. When you hire an IT staffing firm, you’ll get fast, reliable technical support daily—and you won’t have to carefully calculate your IT budget every month.

    However, while there are many benefits to fixed cost IT support services, you might wondering whether these services are right for your business. To make that decision, ask these five questions:

    1. Are you looking for ways to reduce operational expenses?
    2. Does your company experience frequent downtime?
    3. Is your current IT payment process complicated or time-consuming?
    4. Are you satisfied with your current IT support process?
    5. Which fixed cost service is right or your business?

    By answering these five questions, you’ll know for certain whether a fixed cost system is the right choice for your needs.

    Can Fixed Cost IT Support Reduce Operational Expenses?

    One of the most common reasons why business owners make the switch to fixed cost IT support is because it can lead to a reduction in total operational costs. The amount of savings you’ll see from these services depends on your business structure, strategy and the complexity of your IT needs.

    To calculate your expected cost savings, consider whether your current IT support system is all-inclusive. In other words, your IT team should be able to handle all of your basic needs, ad-hoc maintenance, and servicing if something goes wrong.

    If you don’t use a fixed cost IT support system, you may pay more for these additional services. If you want to start analyzing a new set of customer data or generating financial reports more frequently, the IT support team may ask for more funding to meet these goals. This leads to higher operational costs whenever a piece of equipment fails or you want to pivot to a new business strategy.

    Your business should be flexible—not your IT budget. By paying a flat rate every month that includes a full range of managed services, you’ll ensure that your business is supported without dealing with any unexpected fees.

    Does Your Company Experience Frequent Downtime?

    Another question you should ask yourself is whether you’ve experienced any significant downtime in the past few years. What caused these incidents?

    The most common causes of system downtime are:

    • Hardware or software failure;
    • Operational errors; and
    • Equipment damage caused by natural disasters.

    A fixed cost IT support system can help you prevent at least two of these causes: Hardware or software failure and operational errors. That’s because reliable fixed cost systems include maintenance and operational services. With frequent maintenance, hardware (e.g., any given server) is much less likely to fail, leading to less downtime. IT firms use the most advanced software and keep it updated, causing fewer software-related problems. Finally, IT staff are highly skilled, meaning that they make fewer operational errors that cause downtime.

    Fixed cost IT support can even help you mitigate the effects of natural disasters on your daily operations. Your IT team is on call 24 hours per day to help you find solutions if you experience sudden, unexpected downtime.

    By staying up-to-date with your maintenance schedule and having a team of experts available to troubleshoot problems as they happen, you’ll see a significant decrease in downtime. This, in turn, improves your bottom line.

    Is Your Payment Process Complicated and Time-Consuming?

    How much time per month does your accounting or HR department spend calculating IT expenses and processing invoices from IT firms? If you use à la carte services, this may complicate your billing process and waste valuable time and resources. You’ll have to pay for services individually as they are rendered, rather than processing just one predictable payment once every month.

    With à la carte services, you have to balance the company checkbook, ensure that the IT firm has received your payments successfully, and verify that you’re sending money to the right account or accounts. In the process, payments could get lost or checks might not be deposited in a timely manner, making it difficult to balance the budget.

    Fixed cost IT support services free up your HR or accounting department’s time and resources. They won’t have to track IT expenses or payments as carefully. Moreover, you already know how much the bill will be every month, so your accountants can earmark this amount. As an added benefit, the best fixed cost IT support providers accept direct, automatic payments, making the billing process a no-brainer.

    Are You Looking for More Efficient IT Support?

    Fixed cost IT support may also improve the quality of service you receive. How? Fixed costs incentivize IT experts to do their jobs more effectively and encourage you to take advantage of more IT services.

    When you pay an IT firm the same amount of money each month regardless of how much work they do for you, IT staff have to find the most efficient methods to meet or exceed your expectations. Having a streamlined workflow and performing frequent maintenance saves them time.

    This benefits your business because your system will run more smoothly. If you have any technical problems, then the IT firm will have to work harder to fix these issues, which decreases their total profits. With fixed costs, IT firms have an active interest in making sure that your system is working properly at all times.

    Fixed cost IT support also makes it easier for you to implement new technologies and use services like advanced data analytics. You might not request these services from an à la carte provider because the IT firm charges more for them. If these services are already included in a fixed cost IT support firm, then you can make use of them as often as you’d like. You won’t have to feel guilty about spending more on these top quality services.

    How do You Find a Reliable Fixed Cost IT Support Firm?

    One final question you should ask if you’re considering fixed cost IT support is whether the provider you have in mind offers all of the services that your business needs. The best IT firms will include:

    • Data storage, integration, visualization and blending;
    • Accurate, detailed data analytics;
    • Customized visualizations, reports, dashboards and portals;
    • IT consulting and offshore staffing; and
    • 24/7 maintenance and troubleshooting.

    These services are essential for a wide range of industries. Many IT firms even go above and beyond by offering customized contracts tailored specifically to your business strategy and long-term goals. When you identify an IT firm that can offer you all of the services above or more, you’ll see all of the immense benefits of fixed cost IT support.

    If you’re ready to make the transition to fixed cost IT support, contact Tek Leaders today. Our highly-skilled team of IT experts offer our clients a full range of IT consulting services, including advanced analytics and 24/7 tech support. Or, if you have more questions about the IT services we offer, you can reach us by email directly.

    Author: Devender (Dev) Aerrabolu

    Devender (Dev) Reddy Aerrabolu is the CEO of Tek Leaders. His goal is to help SMBs bring value from their data. Dev helped Tek Leaders grow from scratch into a $25 million enterprise by focusing on clients’ data needs.

    Read more