Friday, August 3, 2012

Asking the Naive Question: Is #Cloud - based #Analytics Right for my Organization?

Originally posted 8/2/2012 on IBM's Business Analytics Blog by Kathy Konkel, Product Marketing and GTM Strategy - IBM Business Analytics.
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At one of the recent IBM Performance events, Paul DePodesta, vice president of player development with the New York Mets, talked about his experiences working with the Oakland A’s Billy Beane to create winning teams and completely change the business of professional baseball.

One of the techniques they used to test the way they were approaching the business was to relentlessly ask “the naive question.”  This is a concept he credited to Peter Drucker and, in everything they did, they would ask, “If we weren't already doing it this way, is it the way we would start?”

This is not always easy to do and this question is not always met with open minds, but it can be very effective when a new kind of thinking is needed in order to survive.

I thought about this in terms of some of the challenges our customers face when it comes to deploying business analytics within their organization – from operational process to infrastructure to culture.

Most organizations today are still not at the point where they are able to take advantage of analytics.  (Those interested can measure your organization’s analytics maturity by taking the Analytics Quotient (AQ) assessment.)

Part of this reason is that IT organizations are spending 70 percent of their resources just keeping the lights on. That’s a lot of overhead and doesn’t leave much room for innovation.

So let’s ask the naive question, “If you were starting over with your IT infrastructure – would you build it the same way?”  Maybe the answers are in the cloud.

When Chet Karwatowski was building the infrastructure for Supplier Connection, a web-based portal that makes it easier for small businesses to become recognized as potential suppliers to large companies, he knew business analytics was going to play an important role in his application, but he knew he didn’t have the skills or resources to set up the infrastructure he needed.  He turned to IBM cloud computing solutions to help him deliver his solution with fewer resources and on a very aggressive schedule.

Organizations like Chet’s are using the power of cloud to build enduring customer relationships, deliver IT without boundaries, improve speed and dexterity and transform the economics of innovation.

Putting the two together, cloud-based analytics could be a way to help organizations advance in their analytics sophistication – and quickly.

At its recent Cloud Innovation Forum, IBM discussed the benefits of Business Analytics in the Cloud and some of the considerations that must be taken into account when considering a cloud-based analytic solution.  

Part of this forum included a panel discussion with customers who had implemented analytics solutions using a cloud-based infrastructure.

The main message from all of the panel participants was the benefit of lower costs and allowing them to focus on adding value to the business instead of managing a complex IT infrastructure gave them a competitive advantage.

In addition to Chet, Kevin Hurd from Assimil8, an IBM Business Partner, talked about the efficiencies they were able to achieve when they implemented a solution for Energy Saving Trust (EST) in the UK. Read the recent press release.

EST launched a new “Home Analytics” service based on IBM Cognos and IBM SmartCloud Enterprise that is the primary tool in its efforts to help energy suppliers, green deal providers and local government reduce domestic CO2 emissions across the UK.

They were able to deliver a solution in just a few weeks that would have taken months if they would have had to build up the infrastructure themselves, while still satisfying its own stringent criteria for energy efficient solutions.

Like Paul DePodesta, the Supplier Network and EST, staying on top of the game means always asking the naive question – even when it’s not obvious that a change is needed.

Have you considered a cloud based infrastructure for your next set of business analytics solutions?

For more information:  Read the whitepaper, Business Analytics in the Cloud, to see if the cloud computing model makes sense for your organization.