Whenever I speak to business users, they net out their business analytics requirements in three simple terms:
- They need to achieve outcomes faster
- They require the way they discover insights to be easier and more intuitive
- They want anything they use to be smarter, making the complex simple, yet inherently powerful
For most, it’s all about the endgame and the business outcomes. Whether it’s growing revenue, increasing customer satisfaction, optimizing operations, mitigating risks or lowering the organization’s expense profile, decision makers know they must accelerate time to insightful, relevant and trusted answers. And they understand that any business outcome requires data, analyses, decisions and actions. But too often, they’re blocked from sensing what’s happening and responding quickly to achieve those outcomes.
Why? They don’t have access to all the data at the right time, or they don’t have the skills necessary to analyze that data fully. To achieve the goal of being a data-driven business, organizations recognize they need to be more agile, more inquisitive and more directed in the way they tackle this
At Impact 2014, IBM announced a new initiative, code-named BlueInsight, that brings actionable insight to knowledge workers, delivering fast time-to-value, with easy-to-use capabilities to acquire and synthesize the right data and then smartly analyze that information...all in the Cloud. In related news, IBM publicized an impressive range of composable data services from its big data and analytics platform (Watson Foundations) as BlueMix services.
Why now? Business decision makers are more emboldened than ever to employ whatever means possible to achieve desired outcomes. Some have forged a path on their own where they’ve taken on the burden of maintaining their own data and analytic infrastructure, yet they already realize that this is not a sustainable proposition in the long-run as they strain their own skills, capabilities and budgets. Choosing an ecosystem where they can focus on what they do best—analyzing, understanding and taking action—frees them up to spread the wealth to a newly empowered workforce eager to incorporate data and analytics into everything they do.
These engaged workers clamor to discover insights in the data, but they need to know what drives these insights. Capabilities like Analytic Catalyst (see picture above) also tells the viewer (in words and pictures) which factor or factors most closely drive the outcome, which leads to even more targeted analysis and action. Taking this BlueInsight idea further, there are lots of use cases where analytic applications, for example, a sales and operations planning system, could be deployed in an environment where manufacturers, their suppliers and their sales channel partners all collaborate on a plan that leverages fresh demand preferences from buyers, along with design, cost and capacity constraints from producers to optimize a plan where all parties have top-to-bottom visibility into a dynamic supply chain. Just imagine the inefficiencies that would eliminate, resulting in better profits for all.
A recent conversation with an industry analyst indicated that they see nearly half of all organizations are evaluating cloud options as part or all of their data and analytic infrastructure. My takeaway: it’s not a black or white decision for the majority of the market, It’s one where organizations take a hybrid approach. It’s where business and IT refocus their efforts to achieve shared business outcomes the best way they possibly can, and, where everyone wins.
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