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Australian CIOs need to recognise the power of data analytics

The ability to change course swiftly has not traditionally been a hallmark of large organisations, but user-friendly data analysis software which helps employees make intelligent business decisions more quickly could change that.

Recent times have seen advanced data analytics platforms come into their own. Australian companies of all stripes are becoming cognizant of the business benefits that can result from extracting operational and customer insights from the stores of data already in their possession.  What’s critical in this equation of extracting insights from data is the speed and scale at which companies can get this done. Indeed, Australian companies are now at the forefront of incorporating agile analytics into their business. 

Where the opportunity lies in Australia is delivering agile analytics at scale and giving analytical power to employees who are not data scientists to make these quick decisions. 

Upping the investment in data analytics Down Under

The signs in Australia are encouraging - Australian businesses are expected to ramp up analytics investment in 2018, as more enterprises recognise their data for the strategic asset that it is.

A 2017 survey of IT decision makers by IDC across the Asia Pacific region identified data analytics as the stand-out area businesses were likely to invest in, in 2018.

The survey found 41% of responding organisations had already commenced a big data analytics initiative of some description and 50% of respondents expected their investment in the field to increase in the following 12 months.

IDC also finds that Australia is the second largest spender in data analytics in the Asia Pacific region (excluding Japan) accounting for 18.2% of all spending in the region on big data and business analytics in 2018.

Their reason for doing so was straightforward, according to IDC senior market analyst John Feng. 

“The amount and breadth of accumulated data has reached the point where it can be utilised to aid in running the business.

“The increasing involvement of line-of-business in technology adoption in demand for a clearer and more responsive view of everyday operations to derive deeper insights; the development of edge computing enabling the collection of richer data sets as well as quick turnaround time; the flexibility of cloud consumption model helps bring costs down – these three factors will help drive demand for big data analytics,” says Feng.

Serve it up simply

Business stakeholders are also becoming increasingly demanding about the way information is presented to them and the speed at which insights are delivered, once analysis of a data set is requested.

Looking ahead, Australian IT professionals should expect they’ll be asked to dish up the analytics double quick and in a format that’s easily accessible.  

“Customers will be demanding analytics capabilities that can provide a simple, flexible, unified view of multiple data sources that ultimately lead to a measurable business outcome,” as Feng puts it. 

The right tools 

An intuitive analytic and visualisation platform like Tableau can form the basis of a self-service model which enables employees in large organisations to interrogate complex data sets for themselves instead of depending on the company’s IT or business intelligence team.

Being able to do so – and receive the answers in real time – can make for better and faster decision making, which in turn can lead to improved productivity and profitability.

A picture speaks a thousand words, as the old adage has it, and the results generated in the form of visual reports can make it easier for employees to digest and disseminate the information before them. This shortens the timeframe needed to interpret and discuss data and makes for quicker and smarter decision making across an enterprise. 

For large companies under threat from nimble disruptors, addressing this need for speed can mean the difference between remaining competitive and relevant and being relegated to the division of dinosaurs in decline. 

An agility boost

Large enterprises looking to survive and thrive in the digital era have little choice but to embrace data analytics. Research suggests Australian enterprises are registering and responding to this trend in earnest, as tools and technology become increasingly intuitive and cost-effective and the business case for deploying them more compelling.

Companies that help put the power of data at the fingertips of all their employees, rather than a select few in the analytics team, will be best placed to exploit its extraordinary potential to drive productivity and profit.

Article by Tableau A/NZ Country Manager Nigel Mendonca

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