The Case For Big Data As a Service and Other BI Offerings

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Adding a data analytics strategy is a daunting proposal for any business.

Complicated solutions, limited use case and ROI examples, scarce and expensive talent, fluctuating technology needs, doubtful management, and ever-changing products and services all keep companies on the fence.

Those client challenges, though, are among some of the reasons why MSPs, especially those with a hybrid IT model aimed at SMBs, should begin thinking about developing or building out their Big Data As a Service (BDaaS) and other business intelligence offerings. The development, consulting, sales and integration phases of hybrid data analytics solutions are in many ways similar to other MSP offerings, but with a few twists savvy MSPs can easily address.

Improvements in the usability, scalability, accessibility and affordability of data analytics solutions have also expanded the market downward from large enterprises to SMBs, where demand is increasing. During the next six months, SMBs who responded to IDG’s 2015 Big Data and Analytics Survey said they plan to invest $1.6 million each on data related initiatives, while enterprises plan to spend $13.8 million. That averages $7.4 million per company.

And the market will continue to grow. Almost 65 percent of SMBs, compared to 80 percent of enterprises, have deployed or are planning to deploy data projects in the next six months, according to IDG. About 40 percent of the businesses surveyed expect IT budgets for data-driven initiatives to stay the same, while 36% expect them to increase.

We’ve collected some additional stats, insights and market intelligence below that illustrate why the time is right and how MSPs can help a variety of clients take advantage of different types of data analytics solutions.

It’s important to remember that SMBs (usually defined as having fewer than 500 employees) already have an enormous amount of data they need help selecting, filtering, comparing, visualizing and analyzing in ways that positively impact internal and external business objectives. The key is to work with them in much the same way you would with most clients that are evaluating new offerings and solutions. Here are a few basics to keep in mind when developing and pitching hybrid data analytics solutions:

  1. Start Small. During the pre-sale consulting phase, talk to clients about one or two basic business objectives and the ultimate goals and results they’d like to achieve with data analytics. Learn as much as possible about the customer base, in-house departments or markets the solution is targeting.
  1. Clients Already Like You. The article Getting Big Impact From Big Data from McKinsey Quarterly early this year noted that businesses recognize that targeted solutions from IT service providers help them achieve a quicker and more direct impact on the bottom line. MSPs, as they do with many offerings, should build solutions that address specific use cases, have a clear focus and can be integrated quickly. Those targeted applications, McKinsey states, will increase management’s confidence to scale solutions and start thinking about new ones.
  1. All Aboard. The bigger the company the more trouble it has managing and using data (a good thing for MSPs with smaller clients). Identify a few of the key managers directly involved in the project and make sure they fully understand how to use the solution and apply it toward achieving the expected outcome.
  1. Power to the People. A new breed of “portable,” self-service tools puts analytics in the hands of the employees who need them most. That builds adoption and scale. McKinsey points out that a variety of new tools intuitively apply predictive analytics to data linked from multiple sources make it easier to slice and dice data through visualization, and simplify automation and decision making processes.

Building, selling and integrating new services and solutions is never easy. But the need for data analytics, the willingness of companies to explore the solutions and the diversity of new tools make the market a logical choice for MSPs looking to broaden their businesses. Here are some more articles and reports that can help you and your clients develop and deploy the right data analytics offerings:

Big data service providers guide clients into new analytics world

Why Haven’t SMBs Taken Advantage of Big Data

Business Intelligence vs. Analytics vs. Big Data vs. Data Mining

– McKinsey’s Getting Big Impact From Big Data

– CompTIA’s 2013 Big Data Insights and Opportunities survey

IDG’s 2015 Big Data and Analytics Survey

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