Gartner Data and Analytics Summit 2017, Day 3: The Future of Analytics

Grapevine, TEXAS — Organizations should prepare now for a future in which data is open, artificial intelligence is more commonplace, and analytical tools are embedded in solutions rather than stand-alone, said speakers on day three of Gartner's Data and Analytics Summit 2017.

Using the framework of descriptive, diagnostic, predictive, and prescriptive analytics as a jumping-off point, Gareth Herschel, research director at Gartner, outlined the trends in analytics that companies should follow. In his session, “Plan for These 10 Megatrends in Analytics,” he categorized these trends based on six questions: (1) “What are we doing?”; (2) “Who is the consumer?”; (3) “What data do we need?”; (4) “What analytic techniques do we use?”; (5) “Who does the analysis?”; and (6) “How is the analysis used?” The first question includes a shift from data to decisions; the second includes shifts from tactical to strategic decision makers and from core functions to ubiquity; the third includes shifts from aggregate to detail levels of data and from data silos to multiple dimensions; the fourth includes shifts from reporting to discovery and human to artificial intelligence; the fifth includes a shift from platform choice to analytic portfolio; the sixth includes shifts from data confidentiality to open data and from stand-alone analytics to embedded analytics.

Herschel went on to give five rules for analytics success: (1) find a sponsor for change when analytic projects fail; (2) get out of your comfort zone by finding data to challenge assumptions; (3) selectively apply artificial intelligence, as advanced technology does not always equate to better technology; (4) build an analytic portfolio, as single sourcing tends to fail (5) keep looking for new use cases, as analytic stagnation hampers success.

The way forward will include a focus on master data management (MDM). Simon James Walker, principal research analyst at Gartner, identified seven components to MDM in his session “The Seven Building Blocks of MDM”—vision, strategy, metrics, governance, people, process, and infrastructure—all of which describe different aspects of MDM. According to Walker, creating an MDM vision and strategy that closely aligns with the organization’s business vision is essential, as is creating a formal information governance framework.

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