3 Data Problems Heard at Gartner’s 2016 BI & Analytics Summit

Stepping into the Gartner Business Intelligence and Analytics Summit last month, I was hit with bright lights, large logos, and the unmistakable scent of new carpet. The largest booths – showcasing the traditional powerhouses of BI – were decked out in extra plush carpet. While our booth didn’t have the extra padding, we did have an amazing product that had me grinning as I glanced around at the competition. The analytics landscape is changing, and we’re ready for it.

It was my first time attending a Gartner conference, and I was excited to hear from industry leaders about market trends and technological advances. More importantly, I wanted to hear the pain points that organizations are having with their data. Below are the three data problems I heard the most, and my thoughts on what AnswerRocket can do to help.

1. “We already have several BI tools in house – but nobody is using them.”
I was shocked to repeatedly hear this – how many organizations have analytics tools that they’ve given up on? Is yours one of them? If so, that’s an unfortunate waste of money. The bigger issue is that business users aren’t getting the data insights they need.

What I heard over and over again is that these traditional analytics tools are great if a) you’re a business user who only needs static reporting, or b) you’re a technical expert who has time to perform deep analytics. Business people need to be access data much more dynamically than those tools allows.

With AnswerRocket, business users are able to ask questions of their data and get answers without the need for IT. There’s minimal training – some of our users ask hundreds of questions a week! Think if each one of those queries had to be written by IT – you’d have a backlog that would take months to clear.

2. “I understand the benefits of the cloud – but my company isn’t sold.”
Most people I spoke with were responsible for BI and analytics in their companies. They could all rattle off the benefits of the cloud: better security, scalability, and so on. But they said despite that, their company was still hesitant to make the leap.

Why all the cloud hesitancy? Much of the Summit was focused on analytics in the cloud – and many vendors tout this as their main offering. For access and portability, the cloud is an increasingly cost-effective method for deploying an analytics tool across your organization. No need to worry about power outages, floods in your basement, or maintaining hardware that is perpetually obsolete. Cloud data warehousing and analytics provide the utmost flexibility to scale when you need it, and access where you want it. Having said that, we know it’ll take years for every company to be comfortable with the cloud. So you need a solution that can handle data in the cloud or on-premises – and AnswerRocket is one such solution.

3. “I’m caught between needing to open up data to my business users while still keeping it accurate and secure.”
Most people I spoke with were primarily concerned with control, security, and governance. But I also met thought leaders who were willing to take more risks and democratize their data. This was actually the subject of the first keynote, “Empowerment without Anarchy.”

How to give data access to the business without the velociraptors escaping? AnswerRocket has a solution. First, all users share the same data definitions, regardless of their role. The marketing department and the merchandising department can talk “sales” while referencing the same data. In addition, if you have sensitive data, administrators can configure AnswerRocket to limit access for users and groups of users down to a row or column basis. Flexibility for data governance gives information to users without chaos.

The three days in Grapevine, TX, were a whirlwind of demos and speakers, including one very cool graffiti artist. The Gartner Summit was a unique opportunity to listen to attendees from many different organizations share their problems, struggles, and triumphs with data analytics. We’re here to make a difference, and we didn’t need the thick carpet.

Ask us for a demo and try our proof of concept. We want to help your organization gain insights and make decisions, fast.

Eric Spehr CC BY

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