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On Day Two of the Gartner BI Summit, Analysts Call for 'More Synthesis'

said. IT teams, however, can't afford to take the safe route, and must instead use what makes them powerful—data—as a weapon.

Though data transparency and data sharing are important parts of running a successful business, she explained, CIOs should be careful about sharing too much with non-IT teams to avoid the risk of being micromanaged by their peers. Sharing too much can also make CIOs seem less credible and less confident, Nunno explained. Her presentation, titled "The CIO in Wolf's Clothing," was among the most well-received sessions of the show and left attendees buzzing on the show floor and on Twitter.

In addition to strategic advice, the Gartner BI summit had no shortage of case studies that demonstrated how successful BI teams have embraced some of the biggest changes in the space. Analyst Doug Laney's session, "40 Real World Examples in 40 Minutes," gave a number of examples of companies taking on data challenges.

Laney praised luxury clothing brand Burberry for improving the customer in-store experience through greater customer intimacy and interaction. The company achieved this by integrating and analyzing data using SAP Hana from 800,000 followers and 15 million fans on Instagram and Facebook respectively, as well as analyzing customers' Twitter posts, purchase histories, and surveys, and pulling data from RFID tags on clothing. Because the retailer wasn't cautious about harnessing the potential of new data, Burberry was able to identify customers the moment they walked into the store, greet them with a question about a previous purchase, and assist them with on-the-spot recommendations.

Small companies got shout-outs from Laney as well. Point Defiance Zoo and Aquarium, a small zoo in Washington, received praise for boosting revenue thanks to its bold analytics strategy. The company monitors, integrates, and analyzes data collected at exhibits and event sites as well as across social channels, ticket point-of-sale systems, and historical data from more than 600,000 annual visitors. Through its work with IBM and BrightStar Partners, the zoo used its data to create simpler and more targeted marketing campaigns and has increased online ticket sales by 700 percent while doubling annual member renewals from 3 percent to 6 percent, according to Laney.

Overall, the businesses that have been successful in recent years have been the ones that haven't been afraid to make new types of data work for them, analysts agreed throughout the conference. The theme of boldness as it applies to both strategy and execution came up frequently among speakers, and Laney's presentation was no exception. Looking ahead, "Internet of Things data represents a huge opportunity for transforming businesses," he said, adding that business intelligence teams have to prepare for a whole new set of challenges as the IoT revolution speeds ahead.

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