3 signs that automation is a good idea for your BI and Analytics solution

3 min read

As a business person, when you tell me that robots should build my next data warehouse, my immediate response is to wonder how artificial intelligence could possibly know what is important and best for my company. After all, if it was that easy, what have I been doing spending endless hours over the last few decades constantly assessing ways to measure and analyse how to run my business?

As a tech-person, if I heard about the Invasion of AI, I would immediately argue that no piece of software has ever been wiser or better at writing code than a critical human brain! Sure, AI-developed software has been attempted before, but how successful has that been? And agreed, some database vendors do make pretty neat software that automatically creates explain plans, that actually chooses the better index, and that puts the most needed and used data in memory for a faster response. But let’s all agree on one thing – sometimes, everything technical can go a bit haywire, right?

But the solution we have right now works!

I’m sure that currently in your business, data is being collected from various sources. Scripts that have been manually written and maintained ensure that it is the right data. Maybe it has to be filtered and transformed but performance is… okay. At least, it’s okay for now. Perhaps this system has run unsupervised for years, as long as the source systems stays the same and no additional data is needed.

But the world changes and so do ideas for using data.

I often tell people this: “There is no such thing as collecting data too heavily, only understanding too slowly.” By that I mean that IT must never be the limiting factor for a company to become data-driven, allowing it to leverage all the great and valuable information it already has stored as data. If there is any way that I can get faster access to the data my business needs, I am curious as to what that might be!

The business advantages of automation

This is by no means something I have just thought about! Business automation is already proving itself out in the real world…

   Time-to-data – This is a re-write of the phrase ‘time-to-market’. Time-to-data boils down to the time between getting an idea about a new way of using data and the time that idea hits the BI front end or analytics tool of your choice. What’s your current time frame? Do you measure time-to-data in hours, days, weeks or even months? Is the backlog of ideas and requests growing ever longer in your organisation?

   Data just-in-time – How does gaining access to your data translate into the value of business insights this data facilitates? Would a faster and more flexible access have given you an answer that could have saved you both time and money?

   Discover data – Gaining insights from your data sometimes means that you have to dig around in it without knowing what valuable information you’ll find there. That is by far one of my favourite disciplines. Do you know which golden seams of pure business value resides deep within your own data?

 

Now I’ll admit that not everyone feels the urge to mine for uncovered knowledge, or search for insights not necessarily needed. But discovering data is just one more way to add value to your business.

What always sticks in my mind is the idea that all my competitors do it! They analyse their data. They show relevant products on their websites based on traffic analysis. They order 80% of their purchases by vendor, as their automated systems suggest. They offer discounts for products that are relevant for area, time of month, customer segment and channel of commerce. In other words, not automating translates into ‘failing by comparison’.

Look – whatever you do, your competitors are going to automate! I think you should be searching for a solution that feels solid enough for your IT department, that’s governed and secure enough for your DPO/GDPR compliance and that’s agile enough for your analytics needs for running your business.

About Majken Sander

A business analyst and solution architect at TimeXtender Majken is well-known in industry circles as an influential industry executive, international speaker and accomplished data expert. She has worked in IT, management information, analytics, business intelligence and data warehousing for more than 20 years.