With all the data tools and analytics platforms on the market, it’s easy to select a tool based on a great demo, a beautiful interface, and the promise of a single solution. Before you sign the contract, you may want to consider these four reasons to consult with a technology agnostic partner to find the best analytics solution.

To start, let’s define what I mean by tech agnostic partner: A tech agnostic partner adds value by not anchoring themselves to a single data tool or analytics platform. This allows for a more strategic, flexible, and long-term solution that is not reliant on any one specific tool.

Reason 1: A technology agnostic partner can focus on the big picture strategy and work with many partners.

For obvious reasons, BI vendors tend to sell their product as a silver bullet. Regardless of your company’s issues, the solution will usually involve their product at the center. For example, a vendor may advise you to store and manage your data within their tool without any back-end data warehouse. While this may seem like an easy solution, it can limit the ways you can access that data and integrate with other applications. Tableau, Qlik, Birst, or Looker are great BI tools but are not always the best tools to integrate your data together. In other words, you wouldn’t hire a glassmaker to build your house, but if you did, I bet it would have a lot of fancy windows.

You wouldn’t hire a glass maker to build your house, but if you did, I bet it would have a lot of fancy windows.

“You wouldn’t hire a glassmaker to build your house, but if you did, I bet it would have a lot of fancy windows.”

Because our focus is delivering a full platform, 2nd Watch recommends tools based on how well they pair with the current and future state of your data. For example, if your firm has invested in an on-premise structure focused on batch processing, we might recommend an SSIS or Informatica ETL tool. However, if your goal is to perform real-time analysis in the cloud, we might point you towards a data pipeline tool such as Alooma or FiveTran. The emphasis is on matching your strategy with the tool’s competitive advantage, not the other way around. Moreover, selecting your tools based on your use case can actually save you money and add functionality.

Reason 2: A technology agnostic partner can develop solutions based on your priorities.

Along with focusing on your strategy, we also work with your priorities in terms of budget, scope, and schedule. 2nd Watch can honestly assess how much time and money is required to reach your goal and work to build solutions that match your ambitions.

A popular (and important) sales tactic is to emphasize the ROI of using a tool. The major con of this approach is that many sales teams ignore the critical steps that make that investment possible. Except in straightforward use cases, pointing a tool at a heap of data will not magically create viable results. 2nd Watch understands the function of these different tools on the market and are experts at identifying their true value proposition.

Reason 3: A technology agnostic partner can be as tech-forward or backward-compatible as needed.

There is a huge spectrum across the market for most data functions today. From cheap/open-source software to enterprise-ready options, companies have more opportunities to pivot as the technology matures. By avoiding vendor lock-in, firms can take advantage of cost-savings and functionality of competitive products without making expensive modifications.

2nd Watch’s core business is implementing a data architecture that is flexible enough to both accommodate your existing technology and prepare your firm for the future.

Reason 4: A technology agnostic partner can build a team of problem solvers, not code monkeys.

2nd Watch has worked with several tools across multiple stacks (e.g., Azure, AWS, open-source, on-remise). This has given us a much greater breadth of understanding across the different technologies, but more importantly, has allowed us to focus on the problem we’re trying to solve, rather than just implementing the tool. It is not enough to have experience with a specific tool; a team should be able to adjust to new technologies as the market matures.

For example, Snowflake entered the market in 2014. There are literally no developers with even five years of experience, and yet it is currently the best-performing data warehouse on the market. [Note: This blog post was originally published in 2018.] Who can you trust to implement? As we do with many of our technology partners, we’ve worked closely with Snowflake to get our team trained and certified in this technology. As a result, our consultants can focus on understanding the underlying function of a service and maintaining a strong technical base (rather than learning on the fly). This investment in our team is why we are a top Snowflake partner in Chicago (brag). It’s because we’re strategically tech agnostic that 2nd Watch has the flexibility to translate our expertise in data architecture into cutting edge projects for our customers.

So here is the shocking conclusion: Partner with a company that is technology agnostic. Just like hiring any service provider, find an experienced team that is incentivized purely by the success of your project and not by trying to fit the proverbial square peg into a round hole.

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