Recently, Telstra sponsored the Cloud Tech Forum in Hong Kong where senior IT decision makers and leaders from around APAC joined together to hear some of the world’s foremost thinkers discuss their insights and thoughts on cloud technology trends.
One of these speakers was Sundi Balu, our esteemed technology evangelist and Chief Information Officer for Telstra GES - International. When we were discussing subject matters for Sundi to speak about at the event, it was clear one of his current technologies ‘du- jour’ was Analytics. For those of you who aren’t sure what Analytics is, it’s basically the cloud computing to cloud computing – the next big thing in IT. Whilst cloud computing is about how and where you store your data, Analytics is about how you use that data.
Analytics is sorting the plethora of data an organisation produces, using a combination of intelligent software and hardware into intelligent information used for decision making. What makes this information intelligent is that it is either served up faster (real time) or is made of up of information traditional analytics could not uncover – or both!
Sundi spoke candidly about how business challenges for CIOs are now more varied than ever. Whilst 10 years ago it was all about IT as a commodity and reducing costs, now organisations are looking to their IT group to add value and services to help streamline their business or help their business grow. No longer is IT seen as a support system only.
And the reason Sundi was so excited to share his expertise in Analytics was evident – it works. He revealed how Telstra has been successful in implementing a Common Information Model to drive Analytics using key Analytics software players Pivotal and Alteryx and how Telstra was now a more streamlined business due to the deliverables provided by this model. It is evident that we are living the future of Analytics.
But don’t be scared by Analytics.
While we don’t all know what it is yet, we also don’t realise the potential and power of Analytics for our businesses.
In the movie Transcendence, Johnny Depp plays the role of Dr Will Caster a leading research scientist in the field of A.I (Artificial Intelligence for those of you playing at home). He works to develop a machine that is able to think for itself using the full range of data intelligence ever collected.
This (not surprisingly) attracts the attention of anti-technology groups due to the unregulated nature of the technology’s potential (another story for another day). Without giving away any more of the movie, this machine he develops is effectively an Analytics machine on steroids. It is able to analyse an extremely large network of databases to come to a decision. In this case, the machine develops unquenchable thirst for knowledge which then turns its decision making ability into a thirst greed and power – a not so favorable outcome.
For organisations, the thirst for knowledge and power is unrealised for another reason – what happens if your competitors are better at it then you? Imagine a world where your direct competitors are able to extract more qualitative data, faster from available databases. Using this data they are able to make more effective business decisions, driving their business goals. Most likely, if they are able to succeed at this, it has come at the expense of other competitors, meaning you.
Sundi described in detail how Telstra’s use of a Common Information System using big data partners (hosted in the Telstra Cloud), combined with an elastic cloud environment was able to streamline processes to the point where better information is served up quicker. Additionally what’s great about this concept is that it is relevant to all industries and verticals. Everyone makes decisions and everyone could make better decisions or faster decisions with more readily available intelligent information.
Rocky Scopelliti (Industry Executive, Telstra) talks about the importance Analytics in data driven world of Finance in his recent whitepaper “Analyse This, Predict That”. He advises that “it is clear that organisations that use analytics extensively and systematically are rapidly out thinking and out executing their competition”.
What this essentially means is that they’re using data Analytics to develop a competitive advantage. Another example is Bloomberg – they use analytics to provide tools to traders to help understand the flow of social commentary regarding current or prospective investments. Its ability to provide traders with a real time stream of content and trending topics from social media databases allows them to make a more well informed and timely decision on what to, and what not to, invest in.
And the market is booming! IDC predicts that the market for Analytics will reach $16.1 billion in 2014, growing 6 times faster than the overall IT market. The competitive landscape is moving at a similar rate with big incumbents such as Microsoft and IBM heading off against fundamentalist data analytics players such as Tableau and QlikTech to gain your share of wallet. Traditional IT incumbents are also getting into the fold rapidly. EMC’s recent purchase of Pivotal Labs in 2012 makes them a key player in the market to watch when you combine the acquisition with their powerful storage, security and cloud business. Click here for a great video on how EMC explain analytics.
Analytics is not a solution or product of offering. It’s the concept of getting more out of your data and using the advancements in technology; faster processors, smarter algorithms and cloud computing to get it done. What this basically means for your organisation is that there is an inherent need to explore what data analytics can do for you.
And whilst I sit and think of more ways to tie this back into Johnny Depp and Transcendence, I wonder, if only there was a way to process film information faster and better…
Can you afford to ignore Analytics?
- Rita L. Sallam, Joao Tapadinhas, Josh Parenteau, Daniel Yuen, Bill Hostmann, 2014 Gartner Magic Quadrant for Business Analytics & Analytics Platforms, 20 February 2014
- IDC Big Data Predictions 2014: Beyond Irrational Exuberance - Opportunities in the Big Data and Analytics Markets, Web Conference , Dec 11, 2013, Framingham, MA United States