A complete introduction to data and analytics at scale

Data has become the new competitive advantage in today's information-driven age. The next step in generating value from your data is to implement data and analytics at scale within your organisation.

Data is risk mitigation. It’s opportunity forecasting. It’s behavioural analysis and so much more. But how does a business magically create data-driven insights that pervade every level of the business to every stakeholder?

First coined in 2008 by social network giants, LinkedIn and Facebook, today the title of data scientist has been dubbed ‘the sexiest profession of the 21stcentury’. Over a decade down the line, data analytics has become the foundation for how modern enterprises and governments organise and execute goals, and most importantly, remain competitive. 

As the South African economy continues to tighten its belt, businesses are more at risk of becoming irrelevant than ever before as customers become increasingly budget-conscious. 

Cutting costs and getting lean is the name of the game, and it all starts with data-driven business intelligence. 

Learn how Information Builders makes insight an integral part of organisational systems and workflows with the Embedded BI white paper.

Tapping into the data goldmine 

The reality is that, for most businesses, the data, solutions and cloud infrastructure are all there. They just need the right partner and platform to help unlock the hidden value of data and to do it at every level of the organisation, from the CEO’s desk right down to the workforce on the front lines. 

According to a Forrester Consulting Thought Leadership Paper Commissioned By IBM: “Enterprises today are sitting on an untapped goldmine – their data – and they are looking to use it to transform their businesses by improving decision-making across the organisation, accelerating innovation, improving the customer experience, and driving operational efficiency. Extracting this value has been fraught with challenges ranging from siloed data, outdated tools, a lack of skills, misaligned teams, and shadow IT.”

If businesses are going to utilise the true value of data, they need to be able to embrace large quantities of data generated by both traditional and emerging sources. It doesn’t stop there. They also need to take that data overload, make it fit for purpose, and provide relevant, easy-to-understand insights that all stakeholders can instantly act on. This is the heart of data and analytics at scale.

This is best achieved with a unified platform for integrating, cleansing and mastering information. Find out to take full advantage of your business information to ensure success with this whitepaper by Information Builders – Build a Thriving Business.

How to do data at scale

Today, the use cases most often associated with a data and analytics investment are dashboards for executive decision-making, data discovery for analysts, and advanced analytics for data scientists. 

This helps guide the business. Unfortunately, it also only represents a small portion of the enterprise. In fact, analytics adoption usually stalls at about 17 percent. It would be better to scale data and analytics to more people throughout the organisation, particularly those that run or execute the business. And it would be a game changer if data analytics was extended outside the organisation – i.e. to customers and partners.

The analytics these end users receive should align with those that guide the business, but they’re more focused on solving immediate problems, or answering specific questions. Often, they’re needed in real time, for in-the-moment decision making. However, it is the effort to build analytics applications for operational employees, from front-line staff to non-technical workers, business partners to customers that results in measurable value and tangible ROI. 

Operational analytics makes everyone a better decision maker and has the power to change behaviour by creating an insights-driven enterprise. This realisation across the business will foster wide-spread adoption.

Different ways to scale
What does it mean to scale? There are three ways:

  • Scale to more users. From three data scientists and the executive team to two million users across a major financial services organisation 
  • Scale to more kinds of users. Executives, analysts, and data scientists, as well as nontechnical employees, business partners, customers, and even citizens 
  • Scale to more use cases. From dashboards and visual discovery to decision support, performance metrics, financial reporting, customer-facing analytics, and applications that suggest a course of action or even automate a process completely

The benefits of data at scale
Scaling gives organisations the flexibility to align analytics capabilities to user needs, skill levels, and expectations. Essentially, it aligns the user experience with the right user and the right information at the right time. In the end, what this provides is ease of use for all users, enhancing the way they can interact with data (e.g. In-Document Analytics, infographics, voice recognition, mobile, etc.).

Scaling with the right partner
The complexity of implementing data and analytics into business strategy is only on the rise. It’s becoming more and more unsustainable, if not impossible, to build these functionalities in house, and to do it before your competitor races ahead. A specialist partner is the way to go. 

Look at partners like Information Builders, who uniquely scale value throughout customer organisations with their own end-to-end data and analytics platforms. Information Builders’ WebFOCUS platform has always yielded superior scalability, but multiple enhancements optimise the use of system resources and improve performance to help customers plan for large deployments and advanced analytics.

To put it into perspective, WebFOCUS has been involved with a myriad of applications across multiple divisions at U.S. Bank, some of which support over two million users.

In addition Information Builders offers a learning platform on its website to help organisations across industries gain a vital understanding of how data and analytics at scale both enhance strategy, and provides a firm foundation to execute and better ensure favourable business outcomes, in and beyond the enterprise.

Find out how you can do this and more with WebFOCUS Total Access Cloud by downloading Cloud Analytics Solutions Brief

Start your journey today
Data is a by-product of every business and technology has made it easier than ever before to operationalise data and monetise insights. As more of your competitors adopt this approach, can you afford to be left behind? Every journey starts with the first step. Finding the right partner on your digital data transformation journey is that step. Information Builders can help your business make your data work for your bottom line, and at scale.