For those of you reading my blog for this first time, welcome. In my first blog, I introduced myself including the fact that during the course of my career I moved from the US to Australia. Well I have moved again, this time not to another country but rather from Canberra to Melbourne. In doing so I have shifted the primary industry I support from Public Sector to Retail. I say primary because I will still be involved in the Public Sector and will also have the opportunity to support other industries as well.
During my initial meeting with retail customers, a common question (concern) I have heard is given the tight resource constraints they face, how can they position themselves to take advantage of the new analytic capabilities being introduced in the era of big data? This concern is not uniquely a challenge of retail organisations as many other industries are resource-constrained and there has been significant coverage of the lack of big data skills available in general.
At the same time of these discussions Bill Franks, Teradata’s Chief Analytics Officer, published an article on CMS Wire: The Key to Analytics for the Masses in which he advocates rather than educating and training a broader cross-section of employees to understand and make use of analytics in their day-to-day-jobs focus on changing their actions to take the results of analytics into account. Bill goes on to describe what analytics-driven behaviour looks like.
How can an organisation get the results of big data analytics into the hands of decision makers?
To me it requires enabling two distinct pathways. The first is to be able to ‘publish’ the results of analysis to processes and applications, for example Call Centre applications such as Next Best Offer, Cross-Sell/Up-Sell, etc. The second pathway is to enable self-service big data discovery for true business users who might not be SQL-savvy let along big data savvy and the secret to this lies in having the few (data scientists / business analysts) publish big data applications for the many (business users).
Data scientists and business analysts are uncovering incredible insights; they understand the business, analytics and the data; they understand how to interact with big data tools. Business users need access to big data insights in an easy to user interface with the ability to interact with the results through visualisations. They need access via a self-service so that they can get answers when the need it.
To close the skill gap and significantly reduce the complexity of big data implementations, Teradata, has introduced a solution called Big Data Apps, which is powered by Teradata Aster AppCenter. Big data apps bridges the gap between data science and the business community by delivering easy to use, scalable and resuable apps that extend the reach of big data to the people who can maximise on the value.
‘Teradata has taking a significant step forward with this new solution by expanding its technology solution to include applications that make the analytics accessible and consumable for the typical business user.’
– Dan Vesset, VP, Big Data Analytics Research, IDC
These purpose-built apps are designed around answering a key business question, such as what is the sentiment of customers or what is the sequence of events that lead to churn. The program logic, analytic expertise, domain expertise and data integration and modeling are all wraped up into a big data app. The enterprise users can interface through a web-based portal to click to insights. Teradata has developed pre-built apps in the form of templates to accelerate time to value where the business KPIs, data integration and models to visualisations are captured and ready to rapidly implement. The following figure provides a Retail App example:
The bottom line is even resource-constrained industries can and should leverage big data analytics to deliver outstanding customer experiences, improve customer acquisition and retention and create significant revenue opportunities. Don’t look to create data scientists or even analysts out of your business users, rather empower them with actionable insights, and enable them to make informed decisions.
Unlock your data. Unlock the insights. Leverage the few. Empower the many.
Monica Woolmer has over 25 years of IT experience who has been leading data management and data analysis implementations for over 15 years. As an Industry Consultant Monica’s role is to utilise her diverse experience across multiple industries to understand client’s business, articulate industry vision and trends and to identify opportunities to leverage analytics platforms to support, enable and facilitate the client’s strategic business improvement and change agendas. Monica has a cross-industry focus and is currently primarily assisting Retail and Public Sector clients across Australia and New Zealand. Connect with Monica via Linkedin.