How to Set a Budget for Your Customer Analytics Initiative

By Jeff Sauro

Every project requires a budget — whether it’s large or small. Consider the following as you prepare your customer analytics initiative: the use of software and the amount of time you and other employees have to devote to gathering data.

  • Software: If you have millions of customers and as many monthly transactions, you’ll benefit from sophisticated software that integrates into sales and accounting systems. Products offered from SAS, IBM, and Oracle can cost upwards of six figures to implement and service.

    Some of the best insights still come from simple calculations in Excel or a calculator. Don’t think you need to wait to get approval to purchase expensive software to begin making decisions from customer analytics.

  • Time: You can spend a lot on the hard costs of software and services as well as the softer costs of employee time. Software packages that can fit the budget for single-person companies to the largest enterprises are available. Throughout this book, most methods and analysis can be conducted with Excel, free web software, or options that don’t require very expensive software.

While it’s easy to calculate the cost of purchasing software and services or hiring additional employees to handle an initiative, be sure to consider the cost of business as usual:

  • How many customers are defecting to a competitor?

  • What percent of customers are not returning?

  • How many customers are discouraging others from using your product or service?