Many organizations are working to become more data-driven \u2013 increasing data use and leveraging\u00a0data insights\u00a0to improve decision-making, solve their most challenging problems and improve revenue and profitability. A\u00a0February 2020 IDC survey\u00a0showed a direct correlation between quality decision-making and strong data-to-insight capabilities; 57 percent of organizations with the best data analytics pipelines received the highest decision-making score. Being data-driven requires a different approach than is possible with traditional BI tools, which can\u2019t keep up with the pace of today\u2019s digital economy and the rise of new technologies like cloud and artificial intelligence. The time has come for something better, and modern data analytics platforms are better suited to new cases your business needs, from robust reports to real-time intelligence to analytics on the go.\nThe question, then, becomes which platform? For sure, not all platforms are created equal. There are three crucial questions every buyer needs to ask before investing in analytics, and they center around value, stakeholders and the total cost of ownership (TCO).\n>> Get a comprehensive checklist for How to Choose a Modern Analytics Platform here.\nWhere Will the Value Come From?\nThe truth is we can never really know or predict \u2013\u00a0not really\u00a0\u2013 but the upside is that value can come from almost everywhere in the analytics ecosystem, as long as you are looking for it. So, first, take stock of the short- and long-term goals for your data analytics platform. How do you see it driving value and how do you expect it to impact your business?\nTo be successful, as a baseline, every organization needs to understand and measure\u00a0Key Performance Indicators (KPIs), as they are essential to driving incremental value. Not only that, value from those KPIs has to be spread throughout the enterprise. Every individual should feel empowered to confidently use \u2013 not be encumbered by \u2013 data. Data, which is everchanging, also has to be able to prompt timely reactions to keep your business ahead of opportunities and anticipate risks.\nNow, although identifying and leveraging the right KPIs should be a baseline criterion to success, KPIs can\u2019t move the needle dramatically in an organization\u2019s favor. The real game-changer here is the value driven by uncovering hidden data insights and their impact on decision-making. Discovering hidden insights in your data to make better decisions \u2013 both small, tactical ones and larger strategic or enterprise-level choices \u2013 can reshape internal practices and policies, alter business approaches and bring to light issues that may never have been noticed before, much less addressed. Through the revelatory power of these insights, solving problems should also become easier, as your market acumen and sense improves. And, these insights will inform the analytics and workflows in applications for your teams, partners and customers. Finally, you will undoubtedly encounter unique challenges that only data can help solve. Modern data analytics platforms can help you face them head-on with confidence.\n>> Discover 3 Steps to a Stronger KPI Strategy here.\nWho Are the Stakeholders?\nDon\u2019t take a limited view of who your stakeholders are \u2013 the greatest potential of analytics to drive value means making it accessible to your entire workforce. This isn\u2019t as much about which platform you go with; it\u2019s about having an egalitarian, democratic data mindset, which is openly and actively supported by leadership. Your stakeholders are everywhere \u2013 from the techie data scientists and data architects to the by-the-numbers sales representatives. As mentioned before, you want users of all skill levels to feel comfortable working with data, using it to impact your business now and into the future by making the best decisions. Your entire workforce needs to be able to explore and use relevant data to get to those decisions that drive meaningful change, enable your business to pivot during inflection points, and look for value in those little-known places \u2013 or those places where value was in plain sight. This doesn\u2019t mean you need to overwhelm everyone with the same level of analytics; strike a balance and know who needs what. But make sure everyone has access to analytics, so that its use becomes universal.\nSo, how do you achieve all of this? Choose a platform that can provide analytics to the broadest group of users possible. Be able to segment users as needed, determining which users need access to which\u00a0dashboards\u00a0and which reports, and how much self-service they might need to upskill to a point where they can use the data effectively. Do you want to limit your data analytics platform to a specific business line or function? Does your workforce need mobile access to analytics? Think through which applications and workflows actually need analytics. Finally, don\u2019t forget about implementation. Choose someone to own responsibility for implementing and managing the platform, and look to leadership to guide the implementation process. You need champions at the top.\n>> Overcome obstacles like data silos, perishable data, and query-based BI by using a complete service that is Built for Transformation. Learn more in this ebook.\nWhat Will It Really Cost?\nSticker shock is a familiar experience. You may look at a car, and, flabbergasted at the price, go for the cheaper option. But how much will maintenance cost? How many miles per gallon will you be getting? Budgeting for analytics isn\u2019t as simple as looking at the initial price. Carefully consider the TCO for your analytics platform, which really means be wary of additional or hidden costs.\nThere are many elements that go into TCO. You will need to know if you\u2019re going to be working in the cloud with a SaaS offering. Look at the subscription and maintenance costs, from the core analytics product, third-party products and required underlying technologies. You could also be facing on-premise hardware costs: That means servers for production, development and maintenance. Because you simply don\u2019t know all of these factors ahead of time, ask the vendor you\u2019re considering if they have flexible deployment options. You\u2019ll also need to consider how much ongoing support is going to cost \u2013 this means IT, vendor management, implementation and professional services. And don\u2019t forget about user training and enablement. Again, this is all part of the TCO package, which you\u2019ll need to consider in selling your choice on a product to upper management.\nIn the end, the two biggest TCO factors to consider are the full cost to run your analytics solution (all of the above and more) and whether you\u2019ll need to invest resources in rebuilding application parameters every time users need to explore new datasets. Some solutions tout themselves as free, but, on closer inspection are anything but. To work at an enterprise scale, the \u201cfree\u201d solution may require you to pay a lot for upgrades, additional add-ons and a patchwork of stack products to execute a robust analytics solution. As for resources, think about your skilled workers. You need a solution that is flexible and promotes freeform data exploration, one that doesn\u2019t bottleneck and screech to a halt every time a user wants to look at an adjacent dataset and an expert has to come in to rebuild data queries.\nConclusion\nA modern data analytics platform will empower your team with the insights they need to take action here and now. By putting the power of that platform into people\u2019s hands, you can help make better decisions and accelerate value across your business. But remember: If you know the value that the platform can bring, who the stakeholders are, and the TCO, you\u2019re well on your way to making the right choice.\nIf you\u2019re looking to learn more, read our\u00a0Data Analytics Buyer\u2019s Guide.