Can You Build an Analytic Solution with Lego Blocks?

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Absurd? Not necessarily.

We presented this challenge to the audience at our PharmaForce 2017 Round Table session, which by and large was crowned “the best roundtable ever”. Well, even if you don’t end up building your entire solution out of Lego blocks, they sure help understand the various options you can choose from.

The audience was quite surprised to find two large piles of Lego blocks awaiting them at the center of the table, along with a contest to build a two-story family home out of each pile. A quick glance revealed that the blocks in each pile are rather different. While one pile featured basic, general-purpose building blocks, the second pile offered ‘Pre-packaged’ components that were specifically designed for the task at hand: a skeleton of a room, an entry-way, a patio, etc. While the first pile allowed all the creative freedom one might dream of, the second embedded numerous assumptions based on best practices and knowledge of what’s needed for building a two-story family home. Of course, when the competition was over, 3 minutes later, one team had pretty much a complete home, while the other was still fumbling with the ground floor walls…

Creative freedom is nothing to sneeze at, but when the need is clear and the time is pressing, a shortcut will come in handy. And this is exactly what our pre-packaged components offered – a shortcut to achieve your goal. Faster, tried and true, with a lot of design and planning already embedded in the components, based on years of experience and in-depth domain expertise.

So how is all this fun exercise connected to your next analytic solution? Well, you know that you want a solution that will help your staff do their job in the most optimal way, you know that you want to utilize any available data to get a clear picture of what’s going on, and of course, you know that you want your solution to be intuitive and easy to use. The one thing that all too often we’re not as clear about, is how to get there. Apparently, defining a solution, selecting the right KPIs, figuring the various data sources to be integrated and pinpointing the measures to be evaluated are more complicated and more time-consuming than the actual development of your solution.

When you need a solution sooner rather than later, you want a shortcut to make it happen. You want a shortcut to define a solution that will truly benefit the organization and you want a shortcut to optimally implement it. Starting to design from a clean slate, as well as starting to build from scratch, using the most basic building blocks, are probably, not your best options. Modern solutions today, offer a vertical design, which is optimized for the needs of a specific market, embedding business logic and particular details that are tailored for that market. Of course, analytic solutions are not one-size-fits-all, and are designed in a highly configurable manner so the pre-packaged components are customized for your exact needs.

So, even if you don’t build your next analytic solution out of Lego, make sure to use the Lego wisdom to end up with a working solution sooner rather than later.