Our team here at Think Data Insights are admittedly made up of mostly geeks. We admit it. We thoroughly enjoy the “Wow” factor of the most modern analytics technology! Whether it’s new and innovative ways to visualize data to create the “perfect view” or leveraging the massive scale of cloud computing to calculate rich analytics outcomes on billions of rows of streaming data, we simply enjoy the technology. For many years, so did many of my peers in the Information Technology space. Exclusively. For a long time, the best and brightest technical minds had the most sophisticated tools at their fingertips, leveraging them to build complex, impenetrable, and sometimes unusable capabilities for the business.
Our team at TDI has seen a trend in recent years that we find is helping organizations accelerate the cycle of “information to insights.” Some might call it Self-Service Analytics. Others “Business-Driven Insights.” Or even “minimally invasive IT analytics support”. Just kidding on that one. I made that up.
At TDI, we refer to this new trend as Decentralized Analytics. “Decentralized” because it takes the control and weight of responsibility out of the hands of IT and puts it right into the business. This is not just self-service reporting. Rather, it is true analytic capabilities that increasingly sophisticated business users will have at their fingertips to make key data-driven decisions. We believe there are several components to Decentralized Analytics:
Robust Data Platform
Unlike some philosophies of self-service analytics, we believe IT must be highly engaged in the analytics process by building and supporting a robust and sophisticated data platform, capable of housing the most sizeable data volumes, and smart enough to integrate known data sources to create a version of the truth through a data warehouse layer. It must also be secure, but accessible so that business users can access the data to answer the relevant business questions they have.
“Just-Sophisticated-Enough” End User Tools
Historically, sophisticated tools were left for IT teams or team members holding PhDs. No longer. We believe businesses demand users to understand data patterns, data integrate approaches, and how to leverage advanced analytics algorithms from their data sets to drive innovation and insight into the key business processes. Users are attempting to address this with insufficient tools, and the time has come for these users to have access to the tools to do their job.
Empowerment through Training and Engagement
We believe this team of decentralized analysts (or perhaps “Citizen Data Scientists”) can be a critical force for change if equipped and empowered to drive innovation in the business. IT must identify these teams and engage them with best practice principles on building analytics, managing data quality, and designing impactful stories when visualizing their data. These teams must engage in the business, and work to promote analytics throughout. If done well, there is no better requirements documentation for an enterprise IT project than a citizen data scientist’s data model that is handed over to IT.
Our team at TDI works with organizations, large and small, to promote data culture change and help shift the balance to a more decentralized approach to analytics. In addition to providing data platform architecture and development services, we also mentor business team members themselves in developing quality, value-driven analytics solutions. We provide technical support as needed, fielding calls from the business’ internal resources, when they need additional development expertise.
Contact us today to discuss how Think Data Insights can mentor and guide you.