At Information Builders Summit, Analysts Stress Forging Trust in Data
RENO, Nev. — On day two of Information Builders' annual user conference, speakers in the "Trends for Management" track said that to gain from business intelligence (BI) endeavors, organizations must foster cultures that are committed to data quality, transparency, and sharing information.
During his breakout session, Howard Dresner, chief research officer at Dresner Advisory Services—and a former Gartner analyst who coined the term "business intelligence" in 1989—shared insights gleaned from the most recent "Wisdom of Crowds" BI market study. According to Dresner, the critical factor behind most successful companies is establishing faith in data. They work to "get the data to the point where people trust it," Dresner said. Furthermore, they create messages that stress the importance of high-quality data and analytics, and work to brand themselves accordingly .
Companies that are successful with analytics have also adopted "information democracy" as a core philosophy, one that flows from the top down, Dresner emphasized. They have worked to break down "tribal barriers" that prevent departments from communicating, and promote sharing insights instead. "Getting more eyes on the data is a good thing," he said, as it is more likely to uncover opportunities.
Such companies also tend to rely on fewer technologies, because they are more focused and have clear goals in mind. "If there's strategic intent, then it's more likely you'll have fewer tools," Dresner said, adding that employees will find fewer reasons to download and implement their own preferred solutions to tackle various problems.
Lyndsay Wise, research director at Enterprise Management Associates, advocated making the right choices when implementing cloud-based analytics. "One thing that's imporant," Wise said, "is that you're looking at cloud-based analytics for business reasons, not because it's the trend within the industry." While the cloud has proved to be faster, more cost-effective, and more efficient, it is not always as simple as that, Wise pointed out; despite those clear benefits, cloud-based solutions are not always cheapest in the long term because of unforeseen implementation and maintenance costs.
Companies need to carry out due diligence to identify the technologies that will allow them to make sense of Big Data, rather than simply judging those technologies based on the experiences of other companies. Those that put in the work to narrow down their selection of vendors may well end up implementing one that hadn’t initially been on their radar.
The bigger an organization is, the more likely they will have a hybrid environment, which consists of a cloud-based and on-premises solution, Wise said. The video game industry, for instance, will have most of its data stored in the cloud, as it is collected from users who log in and share their data off site.
Conversely, those who are staying away from the cloud due to security concerns should consider this: Contrary to popular notion, many major security breaches have occurred within on-premises systems that were hacked, Wise pointed out.
Speaking on corporate culture, Wise noted that organizations that do well with cloud-based analytics have "supportive, data-driven environments," where people are given access to the information they require.
Wise advised companies to build trust in data, because if business users don't believe in the accuracy of the data, they won't use any of the dashboards or other tools they're given. And the opposite is also true: Adoption problems will ensue if the data is solid but the tools to make use of it are not intuitive, she said.
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