April 14, 2022

Three things to consider when you’ve been SAAS shopping

It feels good, doesn’t it?

Your team has a new collection of software and tools that will make your work much easier - hello automation, hello efficiency, welcome to a brighter tomorrow for your business. 

A completed SAAS “blowout” is one of the best parts of digital transformation, whether you work in a new business or are in one that’s undergoing change. Now that you have been on this shopping spree though, there are a few things to consider to ensure that the blowout doesn't become a bother.

How will you pool together all the data these applications generate?

This is one of the most common problems and/ or missed opportunities businesses that have been splashing the SAAS cash will face. SAAS tools often have their own data collection abilities (if you want to check, look for a “download as CSV” option), but the way this data gets used often results in it becoming unreliable and a source of frustration. Data gets siloed when there are multiple pieces of data used by multiple teams in multiple locations: the marketing team is using Google Analytics, the Support desk are using Freshdesk, the sales team are using Hubspot, but some of them use Salesforce and some of them use a spreadsheet. The accounting team uses Xero, Quickbooks, practice ignition, Docusign… you get the idea.

The key to getting around this is to have what data practitioners call “one source of data truth”: a single, centralised database or data lake (the latter is best if not all the data is coming in columnar format), where all the data is available under the same definitions and everybody has access to its latest version. Since databases don’t present data in an easily digestible format, a self-serve BI tool such as Looker to analyse and visualise this data through dashboards makes for a valuable piece of the puzzle.

What will you do with all these new logins?

SAAS tools typically come with their own authentication, which raises questions around security - and, tied into this, accessibility. You will need a way of ensuring that the number of new sites to log into does not become a liability - ditto having a single password for everything, which can be a security risk. The flip side is ensuring it doesn’t create inefficiencies with staff members having to remember which password goes for what. 

Password managers are particularly useful in this regard as they ensure you only need to remember a single password to access the rest - this does mean you will need a PM whose own security makes it digitally impregnable. For that reason, among others, we recommend 1Password.

Will there be training required in any of these tools?

Some tools are simple and intuitive to use, others less so. Don’t get us wrong, sometimes complexity is a good thing, but it can mean training may be required. One possible avenue is to scour the net for online courses or tutorials. Many of these, including ones provided by the tool itself, are free. You may also find that training sessions are available, whether through the provider themselves or a third party (such as Cobry). And finally, if you’ve been assigned a customer success manager, book a call with them as they will, through getting to know your organisation and its goals, be able to recommend the parts your organisation will find useful.

How Cobry can help

With our years of tech expertise (techspertise?), Cobry can assist in every single aspect mentioned within this blog post:

  • With our knowledge of Google Cloud Platform, we can help you in every step of the data governance process from collecting the data with ETL pipelines to analysing it with Looker.
  • We hold training sessions for all of our customers, primarily in using Google Workspace, and can also organise sessions in other tools upon request.
  • With our Solution Stack we can advise on any additional SAAS applications to nicely round off your SAAS toolkit. We’re partnered with all listed organisations (including 1Password), and by purchasing them through us we can help you get started with them at no extra cost to you!

April 11, 2022

Building your data infrastructure: first picks from the Google Cloud toolbelt

Google Cloud Platform presents the ideal one-stop-shop for all things data, from collecting it to applying it in your everyday activities. We’ve put together this cheat sheet to demystify the whole process!

Read more

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