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How to Leverage Wave Analytics to Understand Your Business

How to Leverage Wave Analytics to Understand Your Business


Courtesy of RadialSpark, a custom salesforce implementation and integration company. There Salesforce development consultants help enterprise businesses find unique solutions to complex CRM issues.

As a Salesforce customer, using Wave Analytics to make sense of your business data just, well, makes sense. The push for big data analytics had many companies thinking about the data their customers are producing and how it can be leveraged to create value and build new products. However, the data your business is generating internally may hold even more value, if properly understood.

According to Alexander Linden, research director at Gartner, “while advanced analytics have existed for over 20 years, big data has accelerated interest in the market and its position in the business. Rather than being the domain of a few select groups (for example, marketing, risk), many more business functions now have a legitimate interest in this capability to help foster better decision making and improved business outcomes.”

“The goal is to turn data into information, and information into insight.” ~ Carly Fiorina

Using Wave to foster better decision making within your Salesforce organization gives you access to advanced analytics and data visualization, among many other features. However, getting there requires some work.

Wave is an exceptionally powerful tool and as such, it requires setup and manipulation to yield the highest quality results. Data analytics is not simply about building a report that answers the questions you think you have. The biggest misconception about data analysis is that businesses believe they know what they want from their data. They believe that they know what they are looking for right out of the gate.

The truth is that it is very unlikely that the business knows what data and reports will prove to be the most useful. Part of implementing Wave is the discovery process; during which things keep moving and the lenses keep changing until both questions and answers are revealed.

“Numbers have an important story to tell. They rely on you to give them a clear and convincing voice.” ~ Stephen Few

Revealing and Uncovering Truth in Your Organization

Wave requires connections to your existing data warehouses to work. If all of your data is not in one place or is inaccessible by your analytics suite, the results will not be trustworthy because a piece of the picture is missing.

Before implementing any analytics suite, consider creating a single source of truth from which your analytics tool can pull reliable data. At a minimum, data from your ERP system, operations, and sales should feed into Wave to allow the exploration process to begin.

As you begin to ask questions of your data, be prepared for a few surprises. Looking at analysis results and pulling out trends is likely to result in more questions than answers, at first.

“It is easy to lie with statistics. It is hard to tell the truth without it.” ~ Andrejs Dunkels

RadialSpark Uses Wave to Find Questions and Uncover the Answer

Within our own organization, we leverage the power of Wave to analyze our business data. A recent exploration started by the notion that something was a little off. Our revenue was not lining up with our sold opportunities. We used Wave to continue twisting the data and manipulating the lenses to reveal and answer questions.

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Because of this investigation, we learned that one sales team member was underbidding deals and that developers that worked these projects were writing off hours without any control. The projects were taking longer than they should to complete and developers were charging time to non-productive buckets to manage the overrun. As a result, each of the projects was costing the business money instead of making it.

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The lesson here is that we did not have a smoking gun; just the notion that something was a little off. Our customers were not upset enough to raise the flag.  The developer hour overruns were not enough to raise the flag. However, the leaking revenue had to be coming from somewhere and Wave allowed us to find and patch the hole.

The safeguards we put in place, using Salesforce, control behaviors and prevent the issue from occurring again. As a result, we have saved the business more than $200,000 annually.

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Wave gives you an investigative tool. It allows you to continue uncovering answers until you arrive at the root cause of your investigation. According to Linden, “while basic analytics provide a general summary of data, advanced analytics deliver deeper data knowledge and granular data analysis. The rewards of data-driven decision making can be a powerful boost to business outcomes.”

“By 2020, organizations that offer users access to a curated catalog of internal and external data will realize twice the business value from analytics investments than those that do not.” ~ Gartner Research

Implementing a powerful analytics tool often requires the input of an expert and in some cases, multiple experts. “Creating value from data requires a range of talents, from data integration and preparation, to architecting specialized computing/database environments, to data mining and intelligent algorithms. Extracting value out of data is not a trivial task. One of the key elements of any such ‘making sense out of data’ program is the people, who must have the right skills and capabilities,” says Linden.

The investment in your data analytics tool does not end after the purchase of your license. Data analytics is not a “set and forget it” solution. Instead, Wave Analytics is a tool that requires use and manipulation to yield results. Partnering with an expert in business intelligence and the Salesforce ecosystem gives you the ability to turn your business data into a valuable decision-influencing powerhouse.

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