Closing the loop in the data-driven business

Intel Corporation explores just why it’s so important for the business and IT to connect on analytics, in the digital age.

Around the world and in every industry vertical, companies of all sizes are considering how they can make better use of their data. While this of course presents a number of hurdles, the opportunities are great, as we can see from a wide range of success stories in healthcare, manufacturing, government and transportation, the list goes on.

At Intel, we spend much of our time working with enterprise teams looking to prepare themselves to thrive in the age of data, helping them put in place all they will need to efficiently manage and rapidly harness data for competitive advantage. Many of the organizations we work with are garnering insights that deliver strong business value. However it’s not uncommon to see a discrepancy between the vision and reality. While the will to drive data-led change may be there, implementing or fully leveraging it may take time, resulting in lost opportunities.

In this context, analytics is more than ‘just’ a tool to help the business: deployed correctly, it is a major enabler of significantly better and faster business decision making. In retail for example, many supermarket chains still operate based on reports of what was sold last week, causing significant stock management challenges in holiday periods or times of changing weather. However, a retailer using predictive analytics models can take real-time data about customer traffic in store, news and weather events, stock supply levels and so on to derive up-to-the-minute overviews of sales performance and make decisions on the fly that will help it maximize sales and avoid supply chain issues.

While the causes of this inertia are complex, a significant success measure is how well, and quickly, technology teams interact with enterprise teams. Digital-first organizations such as Amazon see little distinction between the goals of multiple teams and as a result can deliver new or changed services overnight. Meanwhile more traditional organizations are still looking to get the pace of innovation down from years to months.

This is why, in our interactions with our enterprise customers across all industries, we put so much emphasis on closing the loop between IT and the business and creating end-to-end analytics solutions. It is absolutely true that analytics technology is setting the agenda for digital business practice, but at the same time, business priorities need to drive how technology is deployed. Solutions are available that are performance-optimized to cover a broad range of use cases and workloads – from basic reporting to real-time machine learning AI. It’s important to be agreed on the business priorities from the outset so that your IT team can identify the right combination of technologies. The faster that these conversations can take place, the more agile the business can be.

In our eGuide Putting Analytics in the Driving Seat, we underline the importance of the business and IT departments working together at every stage. The first step, as we have learned from working with customers, is to understand how far your organization has come in its analytics journey, followed by engaging with business teams to enable business priorities to be set. In our experience, if this business direction is not in place, subsequent activity operates at risk of inefficiency and even failure.

The end goal, simply put, is to have a better-informed business. The broad range of analytics solutions now available, from big data to in-memory, real-time analytics and machine learning, can absolutely drive this goal, enabling an organization to reach further and faster. However, business leaders need to be clear on how and where analytics can help rather than expecting technology teams to second guess what the business priorities might be, or worse, struggle to get business buy-in to the potential benefits or end up with yet more shelf-ware.

A closed-loop approach, with business and technology leaders operating as peers, is more than a success factor: it is a fundamental pre-requisite of analytics success. The more closely business and IT can work together, the more efficient it can be.

Read more in our eGuide, but keep in mind the primary objective: for business and IT to become the co-enablers of tomorrow’s data-driven enterprise.

Find more information on data-driven insights and advanced analytics by visiting our Turn Data Into Insight website, where you can find it all in one convenient location.