Analytics tools should not require users to learn new skills but rather offer clear and easy to follow action-based recommendations

Analytics as we know it is about to change for the better. But before that could happen the industry needs new and better business analytics tools, according to a top executive of a social media intelligence software company.

Current analytics tools are more adept in creating “paralysis than analysis,” said Brennan White, chief executive officer of Watchtower and managing director for media marketing agency Pandemic Labs, in Boston, Mass.

 
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End users are being flooded with data but not enough tools available to educate them on what steps to take based on the information they are getting, said White. What users need are analytics tools that focus on helping them  get things done rather that pushing more data in front of them.

He outlined four ways in which analytics tools need to evolve in order to “survive the coming big data wave.”

Close the data loop – Developers should create tools that make users more efficient rather than allow them to wallow in a sea big data. Tool should provide users with “actionable next steps” in order to deliver valuable improvements to the work they do.

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Provide action-based interfaces – Many business people are not fluent in statistics. Therefore, analytics tools provided to them should not require them to learn new skills but rather offer clear and easy to follow action-based recommendations.

Backup those recommendations – Recommendations are good, but they should also backed up by clear logic that users can check up on so that they understand the reasons behind the actions they are asked to do. This helps in both user compliance and client confidence, said White.

Focus on real-time impact – Many tools are great at reporting what occurred in the previous week or last month. Very few provide data on what on what is happening now and “more importantly, on changing what’s happening now,” said White.

It’s wrong to think that by filling graphs more quickly, the faster the user will be able to make a game changing action.
Rather than focusing on getting the data to the user, tool developers should concentrate on “what form the user needs that data in” so that he can react quickly and accurately.

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