There’s More Than One Way to Skin Big Data

There’s the hard way and the easy way – you decide.

Thierry RoullierApril 4, 2017

Leveraging data analytics to accomplish business goals is crucial in today’s business environment. Data analytics can tell you many things about a customer and it plays an important role throughout the customer lifecycle. But many business managers are frustrated because they cannot properly leverage their organizational data to further their business goals.

Challenges to Liberating Data

Business managers want to liberate their data into analytical insights, but are stymied by:

  • Conflicting priorities: IT’s primary role is to maintain and enhance data architecture. They have their own agenda and in many instances are only able to accommodate business requests if and when cycles free up.
  • Change requests: The constant back and forth requests from the business to IT are often due to iterative changes not envisioned until after the fact. In many cases, you only know what you want after you see a first or second draft of a report. No matter the complexity of the change, it results in adding days, if not weeks, to timelines. During that time the data gets old.
  • Access: There are many internal solutions available to acquire, prepare, analyze, act and operationalize data, but many are too complex for the average business layperson.

In essence, the business user wants to do something that in their mind is simple, but is stymied by complex tools, kludgey integrations between tools, and lack of technical expertise. An analogy is that business users feel they are given an awesome tool like PhotoShop, when the reality is that they just want a tool that enables them to do basic editing without a long learning curve.

The three challenges above can be alleviated if only the business user was given control to liberate their data. It’s not for lack of initiative, but the current approach to give the business control of their data isn’t translating into results due to failure to address fundamental and sometimes obvious impediments. After all, they only need to engage the IT department once to identify and integrate the proper data. After that, business should be free to use that data any way they like.

Let’s explore the three big challenges that business users are struggling with after they gain access to the data:

Three Main Challenges After Gaining Access to Data

  1. Point Solutions Aren’t Cutting It: Current data infrastructures using vertical tools (e.g. MDM, BI, Data Quality Solutions, etc.) while meeting operational needs do little to address the analytical needs of business users because those tools are fragmented. These tools typically focus on discrete tasks that follow a logical sequence – acquire data, prepare data for analysis, apply analytics, act and operationalize analytical insights. While these tools solve operational issues, they do not focus on resolving a specific business issue from beginning to end. As a result, companies struggle with multiple point solutions that aren’t tightly integrated resulting in reliance upon a small set of experts with knowledge and experience in using one or more point solutions.
  1. Organization Fragmentation Makes Things Difficult: From an organizational standpoint, groups are fragmented across organizations, each with a specific goal. Organizations typically have business leaders who want to setup quick analytical processes to further their goals. Then there are IT managers who want to meet the needs of all internal constituents while reducing impact on existing infrastructure. But each group has a different need. The data scientists need access to more, clean data. The business intelligence department wants to create and maintain sound, consistent and agreed upon reports, while the data governance department needs to show measurable results to the CIO or CEO to justify existing and future budgets. Finally, analysts need a faster way to create reports that answer business questions on the first try. This leaves business leaders and IT managers looking for outside help to ensure everyone’s needs are met.
  1. Boiling it Down for the Business Owner: From the standpoint of the business owners, they need quick results to meet their objectives, but they cannot afford to align all parties and solutions to meet their business objectives. Remember, they need clean, trusted data to make better business decisions, but reaching across organizational data silos to find that data is both cumbersome and time consuming.

So now begs the question, how do we solve these challenges?

Solution

Organizations need a self-service, business friendly tool that streamlines the process to acquire, prepare, analyze, act, and operationalize data to accelerate time to turn raw data into insights upon which confident decisions can be made. In addition, cloud based tools speed deployment without the need to buy new hardware and can easily scale with less dependence on already burdened IT resources.

By putting data analytics into the hands of business users, the organization relieves the pressure on IT managers by enabling business users to analyze, visualize and generate insights that generate faster, smarter business decisions and processes. The solution will operationalize the ability to prepare, visualize, and analyze more data to make faster, smarter business decisions.   

As business decisions are becoming more analytical and time to market is crucial, business and IT need to think differently in order to meet all of their company’s goals.

To discover more about taking a business-centric approach to address analytical needs, check out this data sheet.