Big Data Insight for Big $ Action – Users Want Intuitive, Mobile and Actionable BI and Big Data Analytics

November 14, 2011
83 Views

It’s no surprise to anyone who has worked in the data analytics space over the past couple of years that BI is broken. Our customers regularly report on the stagnation of BI, as well as the inability to keep pace with the consumer technology they enjoy in their personal lives.

It’s no surprise to anyone who has worked in the data analytics space over the past couple of years that BI is broken. Our customers regularly report on the stagnation of BI, as well as the inability to keep pace with the consumer technology they enjoy in their personal lives.

Actian recently commissioned a survey designed to give a realistic picture of how Business Intelligence is perceived as well as its usage patterns within large enterprises. The worldwide survey polled BI power users, managers and executives at 918 organizations, 74 percent of which have BI implementations. The results show that users want more intuitive, mobile and actionable BI and Big Data Analytics, yet 76 percent of respondents with BI solutions available to them recorded use at just five percent of their time or less.

Why?  Users cited a range of reasons for lack of use, including non-intuitive design, a mismatch of output data to business needs as well as the inability to take action based on reports. In other words, BI today isn’t working.

Yet, data management has become one of the key opportunities for companies to create competitive differentiation. According to the survey, more than three quarters (76.2 percent) wanted users to have the ability to set event triggers based on real time data analytics – something that to date has not been available, especially within the confines of the enterprise.

Every day, streams of data flow by and are not acted upon. Yet the rewards are huge and they get bigger as we move into the era of big data. If only we could take action, in time, all the time.

Let me introduce the concept of the Action Enabled Enterprise.

Most organizations today are building systems to react to data events. The demand for these systems is huge and growing as more data comes into play and unfortunately this demand is queued up at the IT project sausage machine and each one is built from scratch and takes months to deliver, by which time, the user’s needs have moved on. To make action a core capability of your organization you need a platform to allow your business users to build their own action focused applications that need no training and can be set up from anywhere including their Smartphone.

The basis of an Action Enabled Enterprise is 3 simple but powerful capabilities put in the hands of your team.

1.       Give them easy access to the data.

Make it as easy as finding a song on the new streaming music services such as Spotify and Pandora. If it needs training, it’s not designed right.  Make sure the platform allows you to expand the list of data sources to include external as well as internal data.

2.       Let them decide and experiment about what is an important event.

Who knows what the right data combinations are that create a powerful event? Actually, most teams do, and they will soon find others if given the tools to explore. Start with the low hanging fruit like top 20 customers, priority 1 support issues, deals this quarter etc.  Over time you can develop a library of “event triggers” that get more and more sophisticated to include powerful predictive algorithms, facial recognition, statistical analytics.

3.       Let them decide what actions to take.

It can be simple alerts like an email or SMS message with the relevant detail to more complicated automatic transactions initiating business actions like a purchase, a sale, a workflow kick off etc.  Once again, over time, this list of actions can grow as your action enabled business gets more sophisticated. 

Obviously the platform needs to be fast and scalable. It needs to handle Big Data and people want to know the data is being actioned at the right time. Always on, always looking for those important events.

In a white paper by Bloor Group, Robin Bloor validated this concept. Bloor says that today, business opportunities are simply missed because insights gained from data could not be put into action quickly enough. He says that technology that closes the gap between insight and action has the potential to change the way BI and Big Data Analytics applications are deployed as well as change the way an organization works.

I can’t help but think that if we all get this right, we are going to see productivity uplift and new customer experiences that will redefine leading businesses. And this prize is here today for the taking. We just need to incite action!