Advanced, invisible, predictive, prescriptive, real-time, collaborative and pervasive  – data analytics now comes in many guises, all of which expand the narrative significantly from its big data focus.

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Gaining particular traction is the latter, which as the name bears out, describes how analytics can be fully integrated within a business, capable of penetrating all strands of an organisation. It’s a level of immersion which is now recognised as prerequisite if optimal value is to be derived from the data at our disposal to drive a competitive advantage.

Achieving this has become the Holy Grail of any progressive business, a logical progression fuelled by a growing recognition that to reap the full benefits, more people within an organisation need to be in on the act. As the usage of analytics expands from its original purpose around operational reporting to become a core tool to better understand the full customer journey and be deeply and invisibly embedded across the full gambit of daily processes and weaved within popular applications, jobs and tasks become quicker, easier and more efficient with learning and insight more easily shared.

Getting there demands the right platform that can facilitate a more intuitive management of the huge and static volumes which define big data and shift the focus from the mounds of intelligence per se, to exactly how it is collected and harnessed. As information floods in from social media and the IoT, across customer, market and sensor data and operational financial information, the mission to distribute it to the right people at the right time has spawned a range of more accessible analytic platforms which have transformed a traditionally complex process that once relied on stand-alone, costly and complex BI reporting tools.

TIBCO’s Fast Data platform is one such example of this reform, bringing analytics much closer to the data sources and in turn putting an end to the sequential processes that saw data collected and assembled with the analysis and action happening at a later point.

Those heading up the technology are now far more visible within the wider business, illustrated by the growing prominence of the Chief Analytics Officer

Here, actionable data is generated, integrated and analysed to inform and coordinate in one hit so that the right commands are executed across the multitude of complex processes with unprecedented speed, agility and reliability in real time. It’s a speed and ease compounded by the rise of self service solutions which have brought analytics to a far wider audience and has been intrinsic to achieving greater accessibility to the latest information.

Driven in part by the explosion of the cloud, this approach has changed the way that business intelligence tools are accessed, all of which has made analytics cheaper, accessible and straightforward, so it is no longer the exclusive domain of experts and data scientists. By equipping every individual across an organisation with the materials to drive the business metrics through the use of data, the opportunities for growth, competitive advantage and enhanced business value expand vastly. At the same time comes the potential to learn from historic data and apply that intelligence to real time data to influence business outcomes.

We’re seeing how this can empower people across all strands of the business. Front line analytics may sound like a gimmick or something firmly in the future, but it’s already a reality, as those on the floor in the retail environment, for example, are now empowered to deliver better customer service and respond in real time to customer intelligence on purchasing history, habits and product availability on mobile devices. As a result, they can tailor the offer to personalise the customer experience and fully exploit the opportunity. That way, the critical business moment that presents itself can be seized right away – something increasingly necessary across a wide range of industries.

At the other end of the spectrum, those heading up the technology are now far more visible within the wider business, illustrated by the growing prominence of the Chief Analytics Officer. 

While the role may still not be as mainstream as the usual C-suite counterparts, momentum is building. Along with the recognition of its strategic importance as a digital pioneer comes a mandate to improve operations and identify future growth opportunities.

Increasingly, it is a role that sees greater collaboration with the CIO, to empower the business to better leverage BI by making agile analytics pervasive and allowing access to predictive analytics at every point of customer engagement. As well as driving new levels of innovation and business performance, this also helps to promote the buy in and engagement needed for optimal success.

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As digital transformation and the move to digital business gathers momentum, pervasive analytics will be a key enabler in making this a reality.

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Heleen Snelting, Data Science Manager, TIBCO Throughout her international career at market- and shopper-research company IRI and more recently TIBCO, Heleen has worked with companies such as Procter&Gamble, Heinz, Philips, and Friesland Campina to help business users see the forest for the trees when analysing data. As data science manager TIBCO for EMEA, she and her team help TIBCO’s customers optimise business and operational processes through the use of Analytics. Heleen is passionate about knowledge sharing.