Decisions - TecPro -Hugh Nolan

Hugh Nolan, Singlepoint’s Lead Solution Architect, was featured in TechPro’s Decisions – Big Data and Analytics last month.

Read the transcript of this article below.

Business analytics is not a new discipline. For as long as there have been businesses, there have been people developing tools to examine how that business performs. With so many tools becoming available in recent years to handle ever larger and more complex sources of data, what are the developments that need to be tracked?

With the relative riches of data volume, the major trends seem to be towards greater usability and accessibility of tools, easier aggregation, combination and preparation of data, and more meaningful ways of presenting insights for maximum impact.

Democratisation needs

“Data democratisation has become a critical enabler for business decision making. Today’s business users are for more tech savvy than they were even 10 years ago and more comfortable with using tools to look at underlying data to build their own insights.

There is quite an array of tools available now to gather, combine and analyse data and convert it into usable information that can be presented and distributed throughout the enterprise. The tools to be used need to be evaluated on a business by business basis. An industry that is based on high volume manufacturing and distribution of machine parts has quite different analytic requirements from a business that specialises in high value, low volume contract management.
Whatever the focus, there are some key elements to look for in a data analysis tool: it should be able to consume and transform data from a wide variety of structured and unstructured data sources; it should provide a UI that allows analysed datasets to be built without the need to learn a coding language such as SQL (e.g. drag and drop); it should provide the ability to do advanced analytics using a coding language, if so required (i.e. not restricted to just drag and drop); it must support easy presentation and distribution of the information resulting from the analysis (i.e. charting, email and dashboard distribution).

The above meets the democratisation needs to enable the business. There are further features that should be looked at to protect the business. The obvious one is security. It should be possible to restrict user access to the information produced by the tool, and for the tool to support restrictions on user access to underlying data sources. The tool should support data curation features so that the sources and assumptions around the underlying data used to build the business insight, are documented and can be clearly communicated. The business user that creates a report may not be around to explain how she created it six months later. She’s too busy in her new role as CEO.”

TechCentral Reporters

“If you would like to speak with Hugh or one of his team, please contact +353 (0) 1 562 0027 or info@singlepoint.ie