Business analytics: Getting started

Many companies in the region are only just getting to grips with the basics of business intelligence, but already the leaders are looking beyond BI to business analytics. Business analytics can be costly and complex to deploy however, so where should companies start with adoption?

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Business analytics: Getting started Business analytics promises organisations a greater insight into trends within their operations and the ability to understand why trends emerge.
By  Keri Allan Published  August 15, 2014

Business analytics (BA) — the process of going beyond business intelligence dashboards and performance indicators into more complex realms of data exploration — is gaining ground in the region but its implementation might not be quite as straightforward as it at first appears.

Although barriers to entry can include data concerns, the main obstacles facing the deployment of BA actually take the form of culture and management.

“There can be a lack of understanding on how to use analytics to improve a business,” says Ahmed Auda, Director Software Group MEP, IBM Software Group MEA.

With that in mind SAS’ Carel Badenhorst, Head Technology Practice, Middle East & Africa, Turkey and Pakistan, notes that organisations need to look for sponsors within the company who see the value in BA right from the beginning.

“Before embarking on the journey you must make sure that you have the highest level of management buy-in,” he recommends.

“Wherever decision makers are clear on the need for deploying analytics usually there is smooth sailing in deployment,” agrees Ali Hyder, Group CEO of Focus Softnet.

There’s a lot to consider when taking your first steps in this area, including establishing the best place to start. One starting point is identifying business goals, as your analytics need to align with the business’ drivers.

“Does the company need to know more about its customers, the distribution of its products, its pricing model?” asks Shane Fernandes, Business Analytics Leader, Oracle ECEMEA.

“Rather than sifting through all the data an organisation may produce, if you pay attention to certain sweet spots, you will make better decisions, create better goals, and set better plans about issues that truly drive your company,” continues Auda. “In addition, consider combining predictive measures with historical data in order to optimise outcomes and gain a forward-looking view into the organisation’s performance.”

Businesses are also advised to pick a high impact, highly visible project as their first analytics proposition as a successful rollout is likely to fuel momentum for further BA requirements throughout the organisation.

“Often organisations will want to start in an area of the business where they have traditionally struggled to have sufficient business insights, or a completely new area that is considered greenfield and does not have any current reporting or analysis,” notes Haider Al-Seaidy, Consulting Services Manager, MEA & Turkey, Qlik.

But what about hardware and software resources — do organisations need to invest a lot of money in order to embark on a business analytics project? In the end it entirely depends on the size of the deployment.

“Technology resources depend on the volume of data companies have to analyse, and the amount of different types of analyses that they want to run, and the amount of analysts that are employed to work on the data at the same time,” says Paul Devlin, Head of SAP Platforms, SAP MENA. “Some companies in the region have terabytes of data with tens of analysts, while others have gigabytes of data with one or two analysts.”

“The resources required by companies in terms of hardware or software vary from a scalability perspective,” Badenhorst continues. “There are three drivers used to detect the starting-point of hardware resources: One — Data volumes that we potentially want to analyse; two — the number of people who will concurrently use the service; three — the level of complicity and analytical depth we want to cover.

1794 days ago

The requirement for BI and analytics is growing rapidly in the MENA region.
Global leading BI software companies like MicroStrategy has been able to address this growing need by building significant capability in the region.

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