How to Determine What Data Analytics Solutions Are Appropriate for Your Organization
One of the most challenging tasks facing HCOs and healthcare researchers is determining which data analytics solutions are best for the tasks at hand. While the process of determining the best analytic tools will vary depending on the project at hand and the organization youâ€™re working for, you can still follow a general process to help you down the road to decision-making. The following is a suggestion for how you might approach this decision. At the very least, it should give you a starting point and some food for thought as you prepare for your next project.
Research Data Analytics Solutions
As with anything, itâ€™s important to make sure you have a foundation upon which to build your project, and that includes ensuring the data analytics solutions you use are appropriate for the task at hand. Research can help you determine where your company is, what you can take on, who you might need to consult, and how what information you need to obtain, among other things. Here are some things youâ€™ll want to consider in the research phase.
What to Determine
There are various things you want to determine in the research phase of your project. One of the most important is to figure out what tools you currently have available. Any tools you bring onboard should be able to work efficiently and seamlessly with the tools you already have in place. Also, itâ€™s critical that the data analytics solutions youâ€™re adopting will function within the organizational capacity you currently have. If you donâ€™t have what you need to support the incoming tools and techniques, it wonâ€™t benefit you at all.
Who to Consult
There are several groups of people you also need to consult when researching new tools, techniques, and equipment. First, youâ€™ll want to talk to the business intelligence developers that work in and with your organization. Theyâ€™ll be able to speak to the utility and relevance of any new additions youâ€™re considering for your technology and analytics tasks. Secondly, itâ€™s important to contact IT executives and make sure, as mentioned above, that your organizational capacity is sufficient for any new technology or data analytics solutions youâ€™re planning on adopting. Administrators who will be using the tools should also be consulted, as should any and all stakeholders. Making sure everyone is both informed of and has input into the adoption of new devices, software, apps, and data analytics tools can help ensure the seamless inclusion of these new additions into the current system.
Benefits of Doing Your Research
Conducting thorough research can benefit your organization in many ways. First, research helps you understand the nuanced issues surrounding those who are going to use the new technologies you adopt. Also, research can help you determine your organizationâ€™s capabilities and limitations as well as those of the tools and systems youâ€™re considering. It also helps to establish which tools are currently being utilized and which one of the proposed solutions would best compliment your current operations. You can also use research to establish whether or not previously adopted tools are being used correctly. All of this work results in vital information and feedback that can be used to make the most appropriate decisions regarding which data analytics solutions are best. Finally, research can shed light on existing gaps in your current process which can inform which features you need to look for when deciding on new data analytics solutions.
Explore the Current Landscape
Once youâ€™ve done your research, itâ€™s important to explore the current landscape so you have a thorough understanding of the market before you make your final purchasing decision. This market overview should be conducted before you begin seriously considering any single solution or tool since the exploration phase could bring to light new features you didnâ€™t even know you wanted to look for. Hereâ€™s some information that can help you in this phase.
The Landscape Provides Context
Looking at the landscape tells you where the current trends are and where theyâ€™re going, which can help you stay on the bleeding edge of technology if your organization can withstand it. The landscape also provides information on whatâ€™s currently available as far as vendors and the tools they provide. Youâ€™ll also be able to get a contextual understanding of which tools will work best to fill the gaps you discovered during your research phase.
Uncover Areas of Need
There are many areas in which you might not be aware that you need help. For instance, machine learning can help you make better predictions. Data visualization tools can help you more accurately and clearly present information to stakeholders and major players. Data discovery platforms can help you uncover higher quality or more relevant information, and modeling tools can help you better understand the problems youâ€™re trying to solve. Sometimes, seeing the tools that are available can help you uncover new areas of need you didnâ€™t recognize before.
How to Start Your Exploration
Make a list of the areas in which you know you need new or better tools. This can also include areas in which you need supplements to the tools you already have. Separate the list into functional classifications such as machine learning, data visualization, and data extraction. Then, use the research youâ€™ve already done to determine the specific features and functionalities you need each tool to provide. Determine through further research which tools will meet the most requirements and do the most to meet your organizational goals and be the most cost-effective.
Capability Tree Formation
If youâ€™re trying to determine which tools and solutions are best for you, a capability tree can help you make those determinations. Hereâ€™s some information that might help you understand what this tree does and how it can facilitate better decision-making.
What is a Capability Tree?
A capability tree is a way to compare what you need and what your available options can offer. You want to look at your organizationâ€™s current inventory classifications and pit them against the inventory of the current market. This helps you see areas in which youâ€™re doing well and areas where your organization might be lacking in some capacity
What to Do
Once youâ€™ve mapped your organizationâ€™s abilities against those of other players in the market, you can start making some decisions. For one thing, you can eliminate tools that you donâ€™t need or already have. You can also prioritize tools you might need to acquire based on areas in which you uncovered the most lack. Use a decision matrix to select the best tool in each area.
Using Decision Matrices to Make the Final Choice
Hereâ€™s how decision matrices work. Itâ€™s worth the effort to understand them and learn how to use them effectively because they can help you make more informed decisions that ultimately save your organization time and money in the long run.
List Vendors for the Data Analytics Solutions You Need
By now, you’ve done a great deal of research. Now, you can take the categories of most importance and list the vendors you are considering in each. Arrange these vendors into functional categories like you did when you were creating your capability tree.
List Desired Features and Capabilities
Rate each tool on the capabilities that it has. Use data analytics solutions that ranked highest for desired capabilities for those functions that they pertain to. For example, data science tools tend to excel at creating advanced algorithms, but they come up short when displaying dashboards.
Making the Final Decision
Now, you have all the information you need. You can make your decision according to which data analytics solutions best provide the features you need and based on how youâ€™ve prioritized each of those needs. This might seem like a long, drawn-out process, but there are many benefits to walking through it. Once you do, youâ€™ll be able to acquire better tools, obtain a higher ROI, improve your decision-making, increase your productivity, and ultimately provide a higher quality of care to your patients.
Taking the time to walk through the process above can greatly benefit your organization. Instead of blindly picking data analytics solutions based on what youâ€™ve heard or whatâ€™s gained the most hype, take the time to really understand what your organization has, what it needs, and which solutions will help you solve the biggest challenges and make the most improvement. A little time invested now can save you much more time (and money) in the long run.