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The Rebirth of Role-Based Analytics Applications

It's no secret that business data of every conceivable type has grown exponentially, and many business analytics tools have sprung up to help organizations leverage this data productively. Unfortunately, many business people aren't taking advantage yet. At the recent Gartner Data and Analytics event in Orlando, more than a few analysts repeated a factoid that was a bit surprising—only 35 percent of potential users of BI tools are in fact using them, leaving the other 65 percent without the insights they need, when they need them.

The reason for this gap becomes clear when you look at various business roles and their goals. Business people think in terms of outcomes—not data and tools—and the questions they need to answer are very specific:

  • "How can I make my call center more efficient?"
  • "How can I reduce the cost of new hires?"
  • "Am I paying new recruits adequately?"

In the past, IT was tasked with providing the data and analyses these people needed to answer their questions, but the process took time and effort—often too much time and effort. Today, business analysts have taken the lead with self-service business intelligence (BI) tools for performing their own analyses. But, they still have to find the data, cleanse it, and mash it with other sources of data before they can even begin to answer questions they know about, never mind the ones they haven't even thought of yet.

Everybody wants to be insight-driven, but what do they need to make that a reality?

Everyone claims that they want to be driven by insights fueled by rich data. How can that 65 percent be "enticed" to take advantage of the apps and tools that are available to help them analyze their data, reveal the secrets, and act on the results?

 These three things make a difference. Business people need:

  1. Data that's in proper context for their roles and responsibilities
  2. Information delivered where it will have optimal impact, sometimes within other applications
  3. Key performance indicators (KPIs) that not only identify where they've been, but also serve as early warning indicators of where they're headed so that they can take corrective action, if necessary, to achieve their desired outcomes

The Analytics Wave Is Building Fast

At Oracle, we believe the answer lies in prebuilt analytics applications—the next big wave of innovation for analytics and business intelligence. These are role-based applications that deliver insights in the context of a business person's role and they include both in-the-moment metrics as well as forward-looking KPIs. And we're not the only ones who see this coming. According to Ventana Research, by 2021, more than half of all business analytics will come from prebuilt applications instead of just from business intelligence tools.

For some contexts, this is not a brand-new idea; analytics applications have been around for decades. I even spent a good chunk of my career building them, then evaluating them for clients. 

However, over the past five to seven years, the emphasis in BI has been on self-service, with business analysts deriving useful content from any data they can get their hands on. This has given users a lot of freedom, but it has also created challenges, because business users can't always be sure they are basing their decisions on the right data.

You Need Freedom Within a Framework

This problem is solved by analytics applications that combine traditional predefined analytics with the flexibility of self-service to deliver "freedom within a framework." Here's how it works.

  • Role-based applications deliver modeled data. Business leaders receive sanctioned, vetted data directly from business applications so that everyone works from a single source of truth. Pre-delivered KPIs, metrics, and visualizations deliver insights that are meaningful to the user's specific role. Executives, department heads, front-line managers, business managers—everybody can access information that's relevant not only to their functional area, but also to their unique role.
  • Business teams can tailor the process. They can create new KPIs and adjust existing ones, and they can visualize data to support new measures, attributes, and scenarios.
  • Organizations can drive outcomes with analytics in context. Data from any source—core business applications in the cloud, on-premises sources, content from multiple clouds—can be combined in myriad ways using self-service BI to deliver more granular insights that allow management to drive business outcomes.

Whether you're a chief financial officer or a hiring manager, this type of flexible framework lets you access the precise analytics you need to drive the best outcomes based on your role and responsibilities. One size definitely does not fit all; that's why providing business people with role-based analytics applications that give them freedom of analysis within a solid, robust analytics framework can truly give them the best of both worlds.

To find out more about how analytics can benefit your enterprise, visit our website and begin your journey into Oracle Analytics Cloud.

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