Gartner BI Summit: The future of analytics

Representatives from Oracle, Qlikview and SAP discuss Gartner’s analytics predictions

Business analytics need to become easier to use in the future as Australia is faced with an analytics skills shortage that will not go away, according to a Gartner Business Intelligence (BI) and Information Management Summit panel discussion.

Chaired by Gartner analyst, Ian Bertram, the panel included representatives from Oracle, Qlikview and SAP.

Bertram asked the panel if most organisations would struggle to recruit the necessary talent to meet their business analytic objectives.

Oracle product management BI vice-president, Paul Rodwick, said that enterprises were stealing talent from each other, especially in Australia where there had been less of a financial downturn.

“What’s going to happen is that over time more people will be educated in analytics, so there is a larger population that can take care of this but right now it is supply and demand. Demand is much higher than supply,” Rodwick said.

Qlikview global field marketing vice-president, Henry Seddon, agreed but said the industry should make it easier for people who aren’t analytics “rocket scientists” to use the products. “We should put the tools in the business user’s hands in the same way that we do with Google. If you can Google search about Big Data, why can’t you do that within the business?” he said.

SAP BI global vice-president, Adam Binnie, added that if an organisation has to spend hours finding data, then they would always be short of resources.

The panel was then asked if a data warehouse was still essential.

Seddon told delegates that building a data warehouse took too long and the business had moved on by the time it was complete. “Business changes every second and you can’t spend that time building a data warehouse because the business needs data volume now,” he said.

Rodwick disagreed, however, and said that a data warehouse was essential for analytics purposes. “Every single enterprise organisation should have a data warehouse strategy so you can get the right data quality,” he said. “An organisation that has no data warehouse and everything is Excel spread marks is not a good thing.”

The panel then discussed if support for BI use on mobile devices would become a standard feature.

Binnie said that mobility technology needed to be made available to workers for this to happen. “This is where you are going to have to deliver analytics in order to make a difference to a company,” he said.

Seddon agreed and said that people who use iPads expect BI applications to be delivered to them immediately. “Business users are already creating their own app and distributing it on a service so other users can download it,” he said.

Bertram then put forward the prediction that by 2014, 30 per cent of organisations will include social networking analytics in decision making processes.

Rodwick agreed to some extent, but pointed out that some organisations were nowhere near implementing social networking analytics. “There are a lot of natural resources in Australia. Is that [social networking analytics] going to be a top priority for the mining industry? I doubt it,” he said.

Seddon said that while the prediction was true for enterprises, small to medium businesses (SMBs) would not be near the 30 per cent target.

“For many businesses, it’s ‘Should we buy this truck or do analytics?’ It’s about priorities and doing more with less,” he said.

Follow Hamish Barwick on Twitter: @HamishBarwick

Follow Computerworld Australia on Twitter: @ComputerworldAU

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