Following the whole ‘BI for the masses’ movement, today’s buzz is all about democratizing analytics – giving everyone from Alice in the mailroom to Joe CEO the tools to make data-informed decisions. It’s a lively debate. Entrepreneurial types insist that it’s a ‘do or die’ imperative while the more cautious amongst us liken it to running with scissors.
Last Wednesday, I joined the panel of Computing’s “Practical steps towards democratising analytics” web conference chaired by Stuart Sumner to explore the topic in more depth. You can read a recap of the event here but if you can spare half an hour, do watch the replay. The quality of the debate was excellent, reflecting IT’s growing involvement and maturity in the enterprise analytics domain.
Given that 47% of those Computing surveyed said that access to analytics at their organisations were restricted to specialists, my co-panelist Trevor Attridge and I agreed that democratizing analytics should be high on companies’ agendas. And if not a do or die imperative today, it almost certainly will be in the not-too-distant future. Even the most traditional companies from energy suppliers to shipping companies to hospitals are starting to apply analytics and the Internet of Things to improve productivity, efficiency and growth. Our customer St Antonius Hospital is a great case in point.
The impending election serves as a reminder that healthy democracies depend on strong leadership, cultural acceptance, good governance and transparency. In fact, these were the very things that delegates raised as concerns when it came to rolling analytics out more broadly in their companies. One theme that kept resurfacing in our debate was the importance of a strong “coalition” between IT and the business to address these.
It occurred to me that most of these concerns boil down to company politics – leadership, culture and changing the status quo – and not technology. Technologies for big data blending, to real-time processing, through to predictive data mining algorithms are all out there and in production as our “Mavericks of Big Data” customers demonstrate.
Even cost and ROI, which delegates raised as the greatest ultimate concern is no longer the barrier it once was. The old school per-user licence model – wholly unsuited to analytics democracies – is fast being overtaken by more attractive usage-based and subscription models.
Is politics standing in the way of your company democratizing analytics?
VP EMEA & APAC