*Sorry readers, we used a bad word. There may be more throughout this article, but if it encourages you to critically examine the concept of standardisation and its negative impact, then it’s worth it. Sorry, not sorry.*
Yeah, you heard us right the first time. Standardisation in analytics tools, often hailed as the cornerstone of making technological progress, is bullsh*t. Don’t believe us? Let’s put it another way. Clinging to a single standardised analytics and bi tool can stifle creativity, hinder flexibility, and ultimately slow down progress within your business.
But that’s just one side of the argument. In this article, we’ll dive into the controversial statement, shedding light on both the pros and cons of BI standardisation, and challenging the widely held belief that standardisation is always beneficial.
The double-edged sword of standardisation
Standardisation is the process of creating and implementing technical standards based on the consensus of different parties that include firms, users, interest groups, standards organisations, and governments. It’s supposed to help maximise compatibility, interoperability, safety, repeatability, and quality.
It’s often associated with a number of benefits, including:
- Increased efficiency: By creating a common framework for businesses to operate within they’re able to reduce costs and increase efficiency.
- Improved quality: By ensuring that services meet certain standards they can improve the quality of those products and services.
- Increased safety: As above but replace quality standards for safety.
- Increased compatibility: Standardisation can help to increase compatibility between products and services, making it easier for businesses to work together.
- Reduced spend: Removing expensive and overlapping tooling licences and removing the need for multiple ABI teams (one per tool) and overlapping infrastructure (per tool). Don’t forget better rates that come with increasing buying power with the chosen Analytics and BI vendor!
Sounds incredible, right? Who wouldn’t jump at the chance to be more efficient and cost effective while improving quality and safety for products and services. But as the subtitle suggests, this is a double-edged sword, and sadly this blade is pretty sharp.
You see, standardisation can also backfire for companies who embrace it. For example, it can:
- Lead to vendor lock-in: When a company standardises a particular Analytics and BI platform, it becomes more dependent on that vendor. Making it more difficult and expensive to switch to a different platform in the future.
- Reduce flexibility: Standardisation can reduce the flexibility of an analytics team. This is because a single vendor will do some things well and others not so well. The things it doesn’t do well lead to rigid solutions around the limitations.
- Stifle innovation: Standardisation can stifle innovation by discouraging developers from developing new and unique analytics applications. This is because developers may be reluctant to invest time and effort in developing applications that are not compatible with standardised platforms.
- Opportunity cost: Migrating existing content from other Analytics and BI tools is time consuming and costly. Typically, everything gets moved (without knowing the value), which means new projects aren’t being done and you’re missing opportunities wasting time on stuff that isn’t needed.
- Not so great now, is it?
Standardisation Simplifies Interoperability
Another reason that people gravitate toward analytics standardisation is due to the way it simplifies interoperability or removes the need for interoperation entirely. The allure of everything working together seamlessly, fostering compatibility, and reducing friction in user experience is too enticing to miss out on. I mean, imagine a world where every manufacturer had a different design for electric sockets or USB ports – chaos would ensue – we’re looking at you Apple!
But does that mean you have to succumb to the other negatives we discussed? There may be a better way.
At Digital Hive, we like companies to have freedom within their analytics tech stack, utilising tools and services that tick every box based on need, not just a few because the others won’t play nicely together.
By layering Digital Hive over your analytics tech stack, you get the benefits of standardisation without the negatives that accompany it. Instead, you get to keep the ABI tools and services that work for your organisation and your individual business unit needs, while adding in a branded front end that is as simple or in depth as you need it to be.
Imagine a place where all your analytics assets live, easily accessible without having to reinvent the wheel on how it’s accessed. Now imagine having to standardise that content to fit a new product just because it plays nice with the flavour of the week tech that no one wants, but it’s part of the package you just bought. Got to get your money’s worth, right?
Stop Fitting Square Pegs in Round Holes
Okay, the title is a bit provocative, but you get the point. While standardisation offers undeniable benefits, it’s not a panacea. It can, and does, block innovation, reduce flexibility, and stifle competition.
The key is to strike a balance. By using Digital Hive to collate ABI software into one easily accessible front end, you can begin fostering an environment that encourages usage, improves productivity of users and power users, adapts to change and helps BI teams prioritize work and understand value. We can enjoy the benefits of standardisation without falling into its potential pitfalls. After all, in the dynamic world of technology, adaptability, speed and balance are the keys to success.
Thus, it’s not that standardisation that is bullsh*t; rather, it’s that blind adherence to standardisation, without considering its potential drawbacks and the need for balance, can lead us down a problematic path. By recognising this, we can navigate the complex landscape of technology with a more nuanced understanding and a greater potential for progress.
For more information about Digital Hive and how we can work with you to achieve amazing results, contact us today.