Avi Basu
Tuesday, February 3, 2009
This is the critical information lifeblood for the enterprise, which provides decision makers up-to-the minute business insights - often through dashboards or other key performance indicator (KPI) interfaces – for decision-making vital to the health of the business. Fortune 50 companies like GE and Cisco Systems have been using sophisticated analytics for a while, but we expect this trend to accelerate through the broader enterprise market over the next few years.

The reality of IT today is that most software applications have their own localized view of any relevant data. If you’re not going to leverage data intelligently, what’s the point of gathering and storing it? Unfortunately, the existing IT infrastructure in most enterprises is under tremendous strain as it is – and will be tested further by this increasing demand for enterprise analytics. This can be attributed to:

More data: Data managed by enterprises is growing as business operations expand. Increased regulation expected in several industries will mean that more data will have to be made available for longer periods of time.

More end-users: As analytics-driven decisions become more prevalent and analytic tools are becoming more powerful and easy-to-use, more and more business users are demanding access to these capabilities, even bypassing the IT organization, in some cases !

More complex queries: Tighter regulatory oversight, more users with a greater “need-to-know” and increasingly volatile business climate will result in very complex, sophisticated decision planning scenarios and reports – that will only burden the enterprise IT infrastructure further.

The effects of graduating to enterprise analytics will be profound. Companies will have much better control over the revenue chain and more information about the drivers of profitability and business performance. This will not just be restricted to private businesses. Expect the federal government to drive more accountability and transparency through the use of analytics as well. The new cabinet-level position of Chief Performance Officer in our new government is a harbinger of things to come. Less tangible, but equally important internal business mechanisms will be transformed as well as healthcare, communications, financial services, energy and automotive industries all brace themselves for a comprehensive overhaul over the next few years.

It’s an exciting time for this evolution. Large enterprise software behemoths have already started positioning for this. Over the past 12 months, there have been a slew of transactions in the business intelligence sector – IBM acquired Cognos, Oracle bought Hyperion and SAP purchased Business Objects. This sets the foundation for an expanded product portfolio – whose logical conclusion is a scalable enterprise analytics platform.

The goal, no matter which sort of path you take toward analytics, is the best Decision Yield you can get, the degree of value created through each decision. The solution needs to manage the tradeoffs between precision, consistency, agility, speed, and cost of decision-making. Depending on the business, there may be enormously high volumes of decisions-in-the-making across the enterprise, in need of agility in the decision-making process. Most important, of course, is the ability to do all this on the fly. In fact, this ability is the hallmark of a true enterprise-class analytics system. Watch this space. Things will only get more interesting.

The author is President and CEO Connectiva Systems
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