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TDWI Research Report Explores Operationalizing and Embedding Analytics

Report explores trends and best practices in delivering analytics and how to operationalize analytics into business processes to make them more actionable and thus more valuable.

SEATTLE, WA, January 14, 2015—TDWI Research has released its newest Best Practices Report, Operationalizing and Embedding Analytics for Action. This original, survey-based research focuses on helping business users understand the latest technologies and platforms as well as the challenges facing organizations beginning to embed and operationalize analytics. The report provides in-depth analysis of current strategies and future trends across both organizational and technical dimensions including organizational culture, infrastructure, data, and processes.

The report also examines challenges and how enterprises are overcoming those challenges. It offers recommendations and best practices for successfully operationalizing analytics in any organization.

Enterprises are embedding and operationalizing analysis into dashboards, devices, applications, systems, and databases. In other words, analytics is becoming part of a business process. For example, frontline workers are using such analytics to make decisions that impact profit or cost. Website applications are using these analytics to better connect with customers.

What’s driving this trend? Fern Halper, director of TDWI Research for advanced analytics and the author of the report, explains that as data volumes and the frequency of data continue to increase, companies are realizing that incorporating analytics into business processes makes them more consumable. She says, “Consumability has become a hot topic because it makes analytics available to a wider group of people than simply those who analyze data or develop models and share it with a select few. As more people use analytics output, its value increases.”

The survey found that over half of enterprises (54%) are now using analytics in dashboards for planning and strategy, and another 38% plan to use analytics in this way within the next three years. Sales, marketing, finance, and operations are the top departments where analytics is used, and survey respondents indicate that growth in these areas will be strong. On average, a third of respondents expect that users in each of these four groups will use analytics in their department within three years.

Analytics is of little value unless it triggers action. In the vast majority of use cases, that means users take action manually, according to the report. Fewer than 20% of respondents say that processes in their organization automatically take action.

Report Highlights
This comprehensive report reveals:

  • Organizations appear to be trying to systematically utilize analytics as part of a business process. In this survey, 47% of respondents claim to embed analytics into operational systems now. The same percentage state that analytics is being embedded into databases.
  • It takes a long time to embed predictive models into business processes: 30% do it within one month, 58% say it takes from two to nine months, and another 14% say it takes more than nine months.
  • Challenges companies face in embedding and operationalizing analytics include poor data quality (or a lack of trust in their data or the results), lack of skilled personnel, and insufficient budget.
  • The majority of respondents focus on what has already happened in their analysis, but 19% of enterprises are looking at what might happen in the future.

Halper offers suggestions for overcoming the people challenges and explains how vendors are helping overcome technical issues. She also explores the data, analytics, and platforms used in operationalizing and embedding analytics.
This research was sponsored by Information Builders, OpenText, Pentaho (a Hitachi Group company), SAP, SAS, Space-Time Insight, Tableau, and Talend.

About the Author
Fern Halper is director of TDWI Research for advanced analytics, focusing on predictive analytics, social media analysis, text analytics, cloud computing, and other “big data” analytics approaches. She has more than 20 years of experience in data and business analysis and has published numerous articles on data mining and information technology. Halper is co-author of "Dummies" books on cloud computing, hybrid cloud, service-oriented architecture and service management, and big data. She has been a partner at industry analyst firm Hurwitz & Associates and a lead analyst for AT&T Bell Labs. Her Ph.D. is from Texas A&M University. You can reach her at fhalper@tdwi.org or follow her on Twitter: @fhalper.

About TDWI
For 20 years, TDWI has provided individuals and teams with a comprehensive portfolio of business and technical education and research about all things data. The in-depth, best-practices-based knowledge TDWI offers can be quickly applied to develop world-class talent across your organization’s business and IT functions to enhance analytical, data-driven decision making and performance. TDWI advances the art and science of realizing business value from data by providing an objective forum where industry experts, solution providers, and practitioners can explore and enhance data competencies, practices, and technologies. TDWI offers five major conferences as well as topical seminars, onsite education, membership, certification, live Webinars, resourceful publications, industry news, and in-depth research. See tdwi.org or follow us on Twitter @TDWI.

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