The Modern Analytics Platform: Challenges and Needs
If your organization deals with data, you’ve probably experienced the limitations of traditional analytic platforms. Not very long ago, business reporting tools were thin on the ground. Data warehouses were generally inflexible; they didn’t make it easy to add tools or workflows to face new challenges. Those that are still in use can’t combine diverse data types, which makes data analysis, reporting, and visualization time-consuming. Furthermore, being staged data, they can’t help you forecast or predict business trends in real-time or take all data assets into consideration.
New tools have been developed to help business cope with its changing needs, but with those tools have come new challenges. While the cost of storing and processing data has come down, the complexities involved have increased exponentially. In this cloud-centric world, security is a greater concern than ever. Data governance and management have taken on a whole new meaning and importance.
And the old challenges haven’t exactly gone away. I addressed many of them in my first blog in this series. Under-using data still means that you’re missing out on crucial information, and that means losing opportunities, revenue, and customers. Organizations still need the right data at the right time, in the right place and the right format—in real-time and consistently via a common platform.
Real-time is the new normal. Today, consumers drive the expectations around data consumption, even for businesses. Instant gratification is the rule. If your senior vice president of sales can look up a charge on his credit card within thirty seconds, he’ll want to be able to do the same with sales trends, and he’ll want data that’s as recent as this morning.
That’s not a bad thing—in fact, that kind of ambition can help raise business to new heights. But it also underscores the need for businesses to enable decision-making at speed. Driving real-time data can give you insights across the complete information supply chain: from vendors to consumers to organizations. All of those insights can help you create a user experience that will delight your customers and keep them coming back for more, via real-time marketing, promotions and sales.
With the kinds of success that real-time analytics can provide and the abundance of the technological options available to organizations, real-time analytics should be considered a given in any modern analytics platform. You need tools that will offer insights across all data assets, advanced analytics, and data management. You need the basics like:
- Accurate, timely reports that are swift to create and easy for leadership to understand at a glance
- The ability to form new relationships and links between data sets and view information slices from different angles
- Data enabled for users with ease of access and consistent platform to get to information
- Data management that ensures the accuracy, consistency, and quality of the data
But most importantly you need:
- Real-time insights into the day to day operations and running of the business
- What I call – “Snow-Balling insights”
- Example: Insights about your Customer’s – Profitability, Segmentation, propensity to turn, loyalty etc.
- Leveraging this information of your customer, you need to be able to better manage your spend, identify lift from your promotions and improve its effectiveness
- You need to be able to improve your instore execution with appropriate product mix based on your customer profile
- And finally you need to be able to pre-empt the above mentioned to better manage your supply chain, product innovation, etc.
Modernizing Your Analytics Platform
Being able to consume and analyze data is critical to the business. The time is right to look at modernizing your platform. Computing power has increased while computing costs have decreased, which enables real-time predictive analysis. You can leverage the work that key software providers have done to integrate their suites of tools, creating a solution that is customized for your needs. In other words, if you’re prepared to modernize, now’s the time. So here are a few thoughts about what you should look for in a modern analytics platform.
Any platform you adopt must provide you with three things, which we discuss further in our whitepaper on the topic.
- Insights across all data assets
- Advanced analytics
- Data management
In general, look for a platform to be flexible and responsive, with standardized processes and a single version of truth so that the business decisions your leadership makes are based on accurate, timely information.
It should include:
- The ability to process data in memory to quickly prepare it for reporting, helping to deliver real-time insights.
- Advanced analytics capabilities to deliver deeper insights, create opportunities, and predict future outcomes.
- Able to handle the increasing variety and volume of data
Look to market leaders for innovative solutions from technologists who have stood the test of time. State-of-the-art database and data management technology, analytical intelligence capabilities, and intuitive application development tools that makes it easier for application developers to deliver smart, insight-driven apps that support all kinds of decision-making processes
In the final post in our Modern Analytics series, we’ll discuss some of the solutions and real-world successes that we’ve seen. For more in-depth information, download our whitepaper on the Modern Analytics Platform.