Start Small with Analytics to Build Momentum

This article was originally published on Automation World.

As trends in data utilization advance, so do business practices like software as a service, tiered pricing models, software modules, etc. The combination of new technology with the go-to-market strategy of technology providers complicates the entry point for companies deciding on an analytics investment.

Analytics can lead to high-impact insights. On the other hand, any automation project can be subject to time and cost overruns, and analytics projects might be even more susceptible.

Investment in an analytics platform can be daunting, and implementation costs should not be overlooked. Analytics is not just the math and statistics of your data, but also the integration and management of that data into well-organized systems. Proper assessments of fundamental systems and processes should be well understood before investing in an analytics solution.

Rather than not pulling the trigger on a large analytics investment and missing out on the benefits entirely, companies should consider focused, small-scale analytics pilots.

There are many benefits to investing in a small pilot:

  1. They validate success metrics. Small pilots allow you and your vendor to determine the success criteria for the pilot. These metrics may be implementation date, the number of models built, operators providing input, and other useful metrics.
  2. You can fail small and fast. A small pilot reduces the risk of big, damaging failures as you try to integrate all systems. You will likely see failures in data standardization or connection issues across your network, but a small pilot makes these failures manageable.
  3. You have time to assess vendor capabilities. A pilot allows the client to assess the vendor’s service ability and decide whether to continue the partnership on a larger scale.

Periodic wins do not build momentum; steady, measured progress in one direction builds momentum. Consider the same strategy when you are looking to invest in analytics.


Dan Riley, Analytics Service Leader