A Defense Of Analytics Tools: Why that tool you hate using might not be so bad

When we meet with a client to look at their data infrastructure, there’s one thing we hear all the time:

Nobody likes their tools. 

We’ve heard complaints about CRM platforms, analytics tools, project management tools, billing systems – anything that people have to use on a regular basis.

Executives are often frustrated because their teams aren’t able to provide information quickly, and they’re not getting what they need to make decisions. Data analysts and Marketers and Product owners are often frustrated because the tools they’re using aren’t working the way they expect them to.

For many analysts, it’s easier to just do everything in Excel than it is to fight with the cool technology that’s supposed to be helping them.
The obvious move is to change tools, right?
If the tools are causing a headache, then the thing to do is to switch to something better suited to the organization’s needs.
When we’re facing a process issue, where workflow isn’t moving as fluidly as it should be, we’re either looking at a tool problem, or a people problem.
Of course, it’s possible that the tool just isn’t a good fit.
But it’s also possible that the issue has nothing to do with the tool at all – rather, the problem is with the way it’s implemented
Before switching to something new, it’s important to ask the following question:

Do you have the people and/or processes in place for the tool to reach its full potential?

It doesn’t matter what tool you’re using – if it’s not correctly integrated into your ecosystem, it won’t be useful. When deciding if you should switch to something else, you need to figure out if you’ve set yourself up for success. 

Who’s driving? Who’s the Tool Admin?

We’ve seen organizations that have purchased excellent tools, but no one is in charge of maintaining or monitoring them. It’s important to designate stakeholders who are responsible for ensuring that tools are working properly.

Who are the users? Have they been trained?

You’d never roll out an external product without a help section and user-friendly tutorials.  But many companies roll out internal tools without proper training (or worse without a key understanding of their use cases).

And on an even more basic level, it’s worth asking: does everyone know how to use the tool correctly? Ensuring that everyone who will interact with the tool is fully trained on what it is and how it’s going to be used will make all the difference.

How is the tool set up?

Most organizations are using a lot of tools that are all supposed to be part of one clean workflow. But sometimes, there are disconnects, and information is not flowing efficiently between all of them. For example, the same data may be tagged differently in different tools, and the inconsistencies lead to messy data sets. 

Before spending the time and money to move from one tool to another, make sure they’re configured in a way where the data is consistent, and everything is working together. 

How good is your data?
For us at Pickaxe, this is the question at the heart of everything we do! If your data is low quality, it won’t matter what tools you use – you won’t get the information you need. As we’re fond of saying: garbage in, garbage out. Before overhauling your system, make sure you’ve got the data quality measures in place to set yourself up for success. (This is even more important as companies start to purchase and introduce AI into their data flow.)

So what if the problem really is the tool?

Is the tool a problem for everyone, or just some people?

We’ve seen situations where a tool is a problem for one team, but it’s working well for everybody else. In cases like that, instead of going through the process of overhauling the whole system for everyone, it makes a lot more sense to figure out what the team needs and to find solutions to solve their specific issue. Instead of generalizing complaints, take a careful look at where the problems are – it will save you a lot of time down the line.

Is switching worth the investment?
For large organizations, it can take years to stand up a new tool, and it’s not a cheap endeavor. If the tool that no one likes is only causing minor problems, it may not be worth the resources that would be required to change to something new. And sometimes, vendors will be willing to work with you to find fixes for minor issues. You may be able to solve the problem without switching.

When it comes to frustrating systems that feel impossible to use, it’s tempting to throw money at the problem and switch to something else. But before jumping ship, we encourage you to take a step back and look at the bigger picture. Even if you do end up switching, chances are you’ll learn some valuable lessons about how your infrastructure is working, and those insights are priceless. 

Dealing with tools that aren’t working?

Let Pickaxe help you figure out what to do.

Nobody likes their tools. We’ve heard complaints about CRM platforms, analytics tools, project management tools, billing systems - anything that people have to use on a regular basis.

Explore more

learn more

Let us show you how we can help you make the most of your data.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.

Thank You!

We'll be in touch!


Let us give you a customized walkthrough of all of our platform’s capabilities. Reach out to learn more! 

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.