Data analytics consultants are filling the knowledge and skill gaps created by a tight labor market and the growing need for digitalization.
Enterprise-level efficiency is now dependent on leveraging existing datasets to optimize operations. But companies don’t always have the internal capacity to manage still-developing and amorphous issues posed by data transformation, governance and visualization. Furthermore, with the implementation of novel AI technologies, some enterprises are battling to integrate these innovations into their current systems.
As such, data consultants are vital to companies grappling with the complexities of digital transformation. These consultants have the inside track on the latest advances — in addition to valuable knowledge, experience and expertise to help companies achieve their strategic goals. That said, not all consultants are entirely transparent about their standard practices.
This article unpacks some industry secrets, along with why consultants would hesitate to disclose this information to their clients.
The Hidden Costs of Data Consulting
The high cost of upgrading data and software infrastructure isn’t always immediately apparent with some consultants. Although the ultimate ROI of system upgrades will probably still be positive, a lack of clarity in respect of upfront costs can be financially draining. Therefore, in the interests of transparency, here are a few of the biggest expenses your business may incur during digitalization.
- Infrastructure costs: Companies will likely have to invest in updated infrastructure that’s able to support the advanced computing and storage requirements of data analytics.
- Training costs: Employees must be trained to operate the new system. This may result in a temporary lag in productivity.
- Licensing fees: The costs of licensing certain technology can be significant. It’s important to understand what these fees will be upfront to make informed financial decisions.
- Security and compliance: Maintaining adequate security measures and regulatory compliance can be a laborious process. And that’s before you factor in the costs of a potential data breach or noncompliance fees.
- Manual integrations: The quality of system integrations will impact your company’s overall ROI with regards to data analytics. Integrations that require manual effort to manage data results in inefficient processes.
The Limitations of Data Analytics Consultants’ Services
Another common issue clients face with data analytics consultants is a lack of clear parameters regarding the scope of the expected services. Clients frequently anticipate consultants being able to overcome more challenges than they actually can. As a result, they often are left feeling underserved. Knowing the limitations that consultants are up against from the get-go will help companies better understand their service providers’ value proposition.
Let’s look at some of the most common issues that analysts encounter.
Inconsistency in Data Collection
Web resources are continually improving, but increases in efficiency come with alterations to the tools used to collect — and make sense of — large volumes of data. For example, when businesses leverage a popular search engine such as Google to generate datasets, if the results page undergoes an upgrade, the collection process will be interrupted. These modifications in the tools used to collect data can be an ongoing challenge for data analytics consultants.
Lack of Access to Quality Data
A company may have accumulated a large quantity of data—but the type of information sets it possesses won’t necessarily align with the metrics it’s trying to measure. In fact, the data may not even agree with itself in every facet, depending on how it was measured. Disparate data systems operated by different teams may collect information according to their own methods and metrics; you need to reconcile this information to resolve inconsistencies when combining these data reserves for analysis.
In another scenario, these datasets may have become corrupted in some way. Without checking thoroughly, this faulty data may wind up processed and codified into reports—leading to faulty business intelligence and, down the line, unsound decision-making.
Prioritizing Correlations Over Causation
Correlations within the data are not always meaningful. The role of an analytics consultant includes determining which variables have a causal relationship and which are simply chance correlations.
Gaps Between Strategy and Training
It’s important that companies address skill gaps within their workforce when implementing upgrades. Employees must be knowledgeable enough to carry out a growth strategy before implementing it. Otherwise, lack of training may result in the strategy not succeeding.
Insufficient Security and Privacy Measures
Many businesses are tasked with handling sensitive customer data. This comes with significant security and privacy concerns in light of a possible breach. Therefore, organizations need to go the extra mile to ensure their data are protected from leaks — not to mention cybercrime.
What You Should Look for When Hiring Data Analytics Consultants
Considering both the limitations and hidden fees that may come with some data analytics consultants, it’s important to choose carefully. That said, analysts aren’t able to control every single factor of these procedures. The best consultants can nonetheless clarify fees upfront and manage the challenges more efficiently.
These are a few of the most important qualifications to consider when searching for a consultant.
Span of Expertise
As with any appointment, companies should first consider the depth, length and efficacy of the prospect’s consulting career. This gives you a deeper insight into the quality of their services.
Communication and Collaborative Skills
Consultants work most effectively when they’re a cultural fit with their clients. Being able to successfully communicate the process of change to stakeholders will smooth the entire process.
Adaptability and Flexibility
Technology is rapidly evolving, and data analytics consultants should be able to adapt to new systems just as quickly. Companies must therefore look for consultants who are flexible enough to adjust their approach to novel technologies or business needs.
Some consultants may oversell their services. As such, it’s vital that businesses ensure their consultant is going to disclose any potential limitations or fees upfront. Without this, informed decision-making is not possible.
Selecting Your Data Analytics Consultants
Hiring the right data analytics consultant will streamline your digital transformation process while filling both skill and knowledge gaps. However, as some consultants present a clouded version of their costs and limitations, it’s critical that companies engage with a transparent expert.
Growth Acceleration Partners (GAP) provides consulting services in the digital transformation space. Their software and engineering teams can efficiently build applications and scale businesses. And, as a reputable leader in data analytics consulting, they operate to the highest standards of transparency, proficiency and value-added services.
Get in touch with GAP to find out more about their solutions.