Our recent innovations into Data Visualisation have led us to be inundated and involved in lots of conversations with customers and prospects looking to benefit from the marriage of advanced analytics, visualisation, data management and simplicity.
Greg and Minh delved into the benefits that this marriage can yield and why data visualisation should form an essential part of your decision making process. Below I will summarise the key challenges that have surfaced from my recent conversations with users in government, banking, universities, healthcare, retailers and telecommunications. Consistently I hear the same frustrations and challenges coming through when companies look to accelerate the pace at which they make decisions and focus on increasing the accuracy of those decisions. Here are the top four:
- Inability to quickly identify trends and patterns: Gartner's upcoming Business Analytics Summit plans to discuss the need to embed advanced analytics into the fabric of business processes and channels. Users I spoke to mentioned that the traditional approach to business intelligence has reached its limits. Static dashboards and dials just don't cut it. One person described the need for insight and answers to questions not yet asked. Users wanted the injection of advanced analytics like forecasting, correlation and regression to help illustrate the patterns in data, previously not possible without the help of a data scientist. Placing advanced analytics in the hands of everyday business users will rewrite the rules on achieving and maintaining competitive advantage.
- Lack of business self-serviceability: In Forrester's Top 10 BI predictions for 2013 the need for empowered users came in at #2 and #3. Users I spoke to supported Forrester, discussing the need to remove reliance on IT who are inundated with adhoc requests for more detail, new insight and reports. Analytically enhanced data visualisation provides an environment that lets you explore data on your own, without burdening IT. You can easily create new views of the data simply by selecting items from a sidebar or dynamically filtering and grouping variables. Choose compelling visuals – box plots, heat maps, bubble charts and more – to breathe life into the data, revealing elusive insights that may spark further analysis.
- The need to make informed decisions when and where it counts: IDC predicts the increase of mobile workers in the workforce to 1.3 Billion (37% of the workforce). We need to move away from the thinking that an email with a link to a dashboard or printed report is the end product. Companies want to empower employees in call centres and face-to-face roles to have insight delivered where they are. It was clear that business users wanted the ability to access real-time updates through a tablet accompanied with the capabilities to drill into detail quickly allowing them to make educated decisions to positively impact the customer/citizen experience in real-time.
- Data must be reliable: I don't need any analyst validation here. With analytics increasingly being deployed to directly affect the customer/citizen experience in situations like credit card fraud, saving lives from cancer, electricity demand forecasting and customer channel experience; it's key that the data we use to make decisions is reliable. Many users were dismayed when they asked about how data used in reporting was being managed. Some reporting and data analysts were copying data manually from different sources resulting in errors and loss of quality, which in turn leads to bad decisions. Unanimously everyone I spoke to agreed that with the increase of analytics to support key business decisions in the board room and at the shop front, IT need to have the capabilities to centrally manage and govern the data-to-insight life cycle. This will ensure that data quality and the appropriate business and security rules can be applied and managed with ease, while allowing business the flexibility to draw insight quickly.
No longer is analytic insight reserved for those with a PHD. The marriage of visualisation and advanced analytics, combined with the latest in technology advancements of Hadoop, data quality and in-memory analytics, are all changing the way we approach the decision making life-cycle and improving our ability to derive value through faster and more accurate insight; available to anyone and anywhere.
Get the jump on your competition and embrace the new approach that SAS Visual Analytics enables.