InetSoft Webinar: Analytical Challenges

This is a continuation of the transcipt of a Webinar hosted by InetSoft. The speaker is Mark Flaherty, CMO at InetSoft, and he discusses the topic “Analysis and Exploration: Matching Tools and Needs”.

Mark Flaherty: All right so let’s talk about some analytical challenges. You have got the analytical fever. You believe this is where you want to take your organization, where you want to evolve your BI platform. There are many challenges in becoming an analytically driven organization.

First and foremost is the culture of analytics cannot thrive in a culture that is not conducive to it. And by that I mean the culture has to be fact-based decision making driven from the top. Where executives understand the value of information, they use information to validate their decisions, validate their instinct. Or vice-versa, they go with their instinct or use the data to make decisions, and use their instinct to validate those decisions. There is a lot to be said there but we are not going to dwell on that today.

We are going to focus on the people, the analyst who performed the analytics. They are quite a unique set of individuals who are required to do this work. They need to know the business, the processes, the drive of the business, and the data and the tools to make sense of what's going on in the data. You also need very high quality data and perhaps unique data, if you are going to use analytics for competitive advantage. The data has to be integrated, consistent, and trustworthy, or analysts are going to have a difficult time making hide or hair out of what’s in the data.

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And finally, those analysts need proper tools. Typically they have used spreadsheets and desktop databases and ad hoc reporting tools to do most of their work, but that’s like giving an architect or a skilled carpenter only a screwdriver with which to build a house. So the good news is that there are a lot more tools for analysts that have come on to the market in the last couple of years. And we should be open to allowing them to use whatever tool best suits their needs.

InetSoft Viewpoint

"I think what we’ve seen with our customers is that they approach this from two different angles. They either have a BI strategy in place, and we’ve worked with many customers that use Cognos, Business Objects, Hyperion, etc. They have this business intelligence platform in place whereby they’re gathering the data across their enterprise and across their systems.It spans applications and databases where all the information comes from. They are looking to, as I said before, put the processes in context. The second approach we find is that they are putting a BPM, a process strategy in place. The follow-on to that is sometimes the business intelligence strategy. So we find them coming from each side of the coin.

Now the important thing that we have seen with our customers is that the reality for them is that the process improvement aspect – whether they are coming at it from the process improvement side to begin with, or they already have the BI solution in place, and now they’re trying to put them in context – is that a lot of those projects are stalled by the legacy of past failed projects, the lack of concrete requirements, especially from business owners. There is a lack of collaboration between IT and business to get accurate requirements in place in a quick manner to adjust to changing business conditions." - Luke Liang, CEO, InetSoft

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