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It's time to transform your analytics strategy

Business analytics is one of the hottest topics, and today there are already comprehensive examples of organisations that lead the competition by leveraging analytics.

Organisations have realised that they need to adopt a data-driven decision-making culture to extract insights from their business systems in order to get fact-based insights to compete effectively.

However, fewer than 30 per cent of organisations today use business intelligence (BI) systems, although most of them have been investing in reporting, query tools and data warehouses for a long time. This poses a question: Why is the use of BI systems so limited still?

Firstly, it's hard to build a BI system, as it requires specialised skills. Building analytics applications requires organisations to integrate their solutions, systems and technologies, and extract data from their ERP (enterprise resource planning) and other enterprise systems, to conform a data-modelling structure that incorporates best-practice business metrics and key performance indicators.

And, all of this has to output analytics information that is compelling enough yet user-friendly to a wide range of business users.

Secondly, business users have a whole new set of expectations of BI systems around relevance, ease of use, and responsiveness. They expect a "Google effect" experience of their analytics information searches that is instantaneous and optimised for particular functions.

With much higher expectations on BI systems than ever before, business users demand analytical insights to be instantly accessible, visually compelling and delivered on mobile devices with responsive performance. This "consumerisation of BI" is setting the new standards for BI systems.

Thirdly, traditional build-your-own BI systems have certain constraints. When each business division processes its data independently, it is more difficult for the users to voice their requirements, as they do not know what can possibly be done by the BI system or what their peer businesses are doing.

Based on the experience of thousands of analytics implementations, the following are requirements on analytics applications that have emerged as generic expectations of business users: integrate diverse corporate sources of information into an enterprise view; build metrics with industry best practices; clear dashboards and reports designed for instant understandability; interactive self-service exploration; model outcomes and run what-if scenarios; see what's happening now and what is likely to happen in the future; and combine structured with unstructured data and Big Data.

Organisations' analytical requirements are maturing and broadening quickly. The trends are clear that business users today expect faster delivery of analytic applications with interactive self-service functions that are simple to use but enable sophisticated analysis to be available at any time, anywhere.

A pre-integrated BI system with a broad range of functionality is indeed the way to go, as this assures the easiest and risk-free implementation that is proven to deliver strong business value and speed-of-thought performance, while remaining open to work with each customer's individual IT environment.

With the proliferation of new digital information sources, organisations need the right analytics tools to capture a wide variety of data types and analyse them within the context of business under a single, standardised and centralised model.

Organisations require expanding the boundaries of traditional BI systems to unlock insights from a wealth of customer, employee and product knowledge that remains untapped.

Francis Han is general manager for Business Analytics at Oracle Asean.


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