Business Analytics & Insights

What is ‘Enabled Analytics’ and How Can It Transform Your Company or Department?

by Bryant Griffith, Solution Manager, Business Analytics & Insights

Typically, analytics is considered to be an umbrella term for gathering insights from data. Analytics is really about actions, informed choices, and ultimately delivering success for your business through driving data-driven decisions. It’s more than just a pretty dashboard. We must remind ourselves that analytics itself isn’t the point because like most of the best technology, analytics is most powerful when it becomes invisible.

Typically, analytics is considered to be an umbrella term for gathering insights from data. Analytics is really about actions, informed choices, and ultimately delivering success for your business through driving data-driven decisions. It’s more than just a pretty dashboard. We must remind ourselves that analytics itself isn’t the point because like most of the best technology, analytics is most powerful when it becomes invisible.

In other words, analytics should be and must become more proactive. Ideally, analytics and insights must serve business users’ needs whenever they want them – without them asking for it. It would be like having a personal assistant who knows what you need before asking.

When analytics is done right, it is a powerful but invisible enabler of business success. Analytics will become like electricity – everywhere and essential for business but mainly invisible to users. It will be taken for granted, expected always to work. And that’s a good thing because it means that companies can focus on what they do best: their core competencies.

Thought Logic developed the Enabled Analytics concept and framework to help companies streamline our client’s analytic needs so end-users can make data-driven decisions. The need was apparent to us after seeing the average end-user wanting a better and easier experience for consuming insights and constant struggle with self-service analytics failing to meet their needs, distrust in the data, or lack of understanding of how data is presented.

It is important to remember that analytics alone is not the goal. The value lies in leveraging it as a tool to help you achieve your goals. The key is to make it accessible and easy to use for the end-users who need it most.

Why is Enabled Analytics the Future for Businesses?

Think about the last time you picked a new show to watch on Netflix. They use data to find the most relevant content for you at that moment without giving you a graph of trending data or metrics. We envisage the future of work as similar to this. You should have easy access to the most relevant insights to help drive informed decisions for your projects. Enabled analytics should make you aware of the most pertinent information for every situation you face. Again, it isn’t about graphs and charts but about what you can do with data and the questions you can answer.

In a world where work is constantly changing and evolving, analytics must be able to change and adapt rapidly and efficiently. The goal of enabled analytics is to enable business users to have the data they need at their fingertips, without having to ask for it. That way, businesses can focus on what they do well while still making data-driven decisions.

What is Enabled Analytics?

Enabled analytics is a term we have coined to describe the situation when analytics is easily accessible and easy to use for business users. It also must be relevant to the user’s role and personalized to their needs.

Enabled analytics’ goal is to provide information and analysis pertinent to individual user’s role and hyper-personalized to them as well as easily accessible to all users within an organization. Businesses should have data information bubbled up to them without having to dig and a streamlined data process with proper layers to facilitate the ease of use for these insights. Having optimal access to data is vital for businesses in the digital era because it helps make data-led decision-making part of the company culture, without users feeling like they must be analysts themselves.

The future of work has always been about people working smarter, and now that is even more critical. Data and automation will increasingly take over the more repetitive tasks. However, automation also gives humans the time to do more challenging, complex tasks and jobs. We explored this phenomenon in The Top 5 Data and Analytics Trends That Will Disrupt Business As Usual.

In general, companies hire people for jobs that require critical thinking or strategic decisions, which data and insights can usually support. If users have access to these insights, it enables them to make more informed decisions. It’s not about shoving a dashboard in someone’s face and saying, “Here, make sense of this.” Again, insights should be available like in the Netflix example: working quietly in the background and providing you with what you need whenever you need it.

The goal of enabled analytics is to help businesses focus on their key capabilities by ensuring that the data is where it needs to be when it needs to be there. It is vital to remember that analytics is not a goal in and of itself but a tool to help you achieve your goals.

How do you achieve Enabled Analytics?

Most likely, your company or department already has the technology available to make this happen. It’s how you unlock this technology and how you make your analytics work for you in a meaningful way. You don’t even need to provide the most advanced analytics, just give your users the tools to take advantage of the data and information you already possess.

The Enabled Analytics framework is a guide for operationalizing analytics that empowers end-users. It starts with understanding the company or department’s overall business objectives and mapping out what data is needed to support those objectives. Then create role-based personas to identify what questions are being asked and create an inventory of the data and metrics needed to answer those questions. Once you identify the data needed, you can design and build the reporting and semantic layers that will transform raw data into a form that is accessible and utilizes more common business terms. And finally, you need to put in place the data management processes and controls to ensure that the data is accurate and trustworthy.

There are some key things that you need to achieve enabled analytics:

  • A clear data roadmap and strategy for achieving those objectives by aligning the business goals and users’ intent with your data initiatives. This is one step in our framework finds what people are trying to achieve and then helps standardize data and analytics efforts so they can be driven towards meeting those goals.
  • The data must be easily accessible to the end-users. This should be a streamlined process to serve your data to end-users with a high-quality semantic or reporting layer for easy consumption.
  • The data must be relevant to the user’s role and personalized to them as an individual. This can be achieved with a focus on design, UX, and personalization. Most analytics platforms can already achieve role-based metrics, personas, and hyper-personalization through row-level filtering.
  • Solving the user’s long-tail questions that have consumed data teams and have left users feeling like they don’t have the complete picture. This has been promised to be solved with self-service analytics, but we’ve got to be more thoughtful than handing end-users enormous amounts of data and a visualization tool. Using tools like natural language search, like Power BI’s Q&A or Thought Spot, you can solve that long tail of questions that are being asked and that self-service is trying to solve. This is the heart of enabled analytics, letting the user answer their questions with a limited amount of work.
  • It significantly helps drive the adoption of data products within a department or organization. Useful insights specific to a person and role should live where the user is doing their work rather than making them have a separate application. One way to drive adoption is through enabled analytics. Previously I’ve mentioned some tactical ways of solving this in the article 8 Strategies to Increase Dashboard Adoption but at the core of our Enabled Analytics framework is adoption.

What are the Benefits of Enabled Analytics?

There are many advantages of having enabled analytics in the workplace. When business users have the data that they need when they need it, it helps them:

  • Improve Decision-Making
  • Drive Informed Decisions
  • Save Time
  • Increase Productivity
  • Enhanced User Experience

These are just a few ways in which enabled analytics can help businesses achieve their goals. The bottom line is that when users can access the data they need whenever they need it, they can focus on what they do best and make better decisions.

If you’re interested in learning more about Thought Logic’s Enabled Analytics concept or how it can benefit your business, please contact us. We would be happy to chat with you.