Stories About Data and Analytics: Summit 2017, Wednesday

Terri White
June 07, 2017
Yesterday we talked about the role of data, analytics, people and machines being increasingly connected. Today we really drilled down into the opportunities that arise because of those connections, and how our customers are taking advantage of them. 
Many of our sessions this morning were led by great customers doing even greater things with our products and solutions. Retail companies, manufacturers, financial institutions, healthcare institutions, travel and hospitality-based organizations, and state and local government agencies were out in full force and well represented.  Following a Birds-of-a-Feather luncheon in which like-minded individuals from various industries and services mixed and mingled, it was back to learning in our sessions dedicated to BI and analytics, data management, and getting down to the fundamentals. This afternoon also saw presentations from analysts Boris Evelson, Forrester Research; Mark Smith and David Menninger, Ventana Research; and Wayne Eckerson, Eckerson Group.
The stories we heard today about using data and analytics to drive business value are phenomenal. Here’s just a small sampling to wet your whistle:
  • The “s-word”. Canada’s Guelph General Hospital, Conestoga College and Information Builders have partnered up in an Academic Alliance to meet community and industry needs. WebFOCUS is on curriculum for Business Intelligence and healthcare informatics; students learn skills and apply learning by working at the hospital. Graduates in demand! Creates skills, jobs and goodwill all around. What’s the s-word? Synergy.
  • Not cool bro, clean your data.  Data quality and governance is a hot topic everywhere. Especially here because without clean data, analysis is meaningless. St Luke’s Hospital Network drove this point home and interestingly pointed out that data governance is 90% policy and 10% technology. Strong leadership to make key decisions is critical for success. We’re also noticing that the business users who are closest to their data are taking on more of a role in cleaning their data. #keepitclean
  • Cheers to the community, y’all. At the User Group President’s Lunch, we heard from folks who’ve been using Information Builders’ products “since the beginning of time” and others who were Summit first-timers. They host user group meetings around the world where thousands of people gather to hear speakers and network with one another – a support group for analytics fans and data lovers. Thank you for your continued support of this great program!
  • People like simple stuff. We heard from Mark Smith at Ventana Research that “No one wants to spend all day interpreting a chart or data visualization.” They want a simple approach – the right info delivered right to them in context with a way to directly take an action. This was backed up by a fantastic presentation by Swisher Sweets who email an Active Document to sales people every morning that they can review for 15-minutes over their morning coffee. No VPN, No training. And the user feedback is “off the chain”. The business value is too – saving time and increasing sales capacity.
  • Analytics is a team sport. Another theme emerges: organizations get smarter when people work together and speak a common data language. Spreadsheets and siloed data viz tools don’t play well in this scenario. They’re not game-changing for the bigger goals of the business. Our customers appreciate the power of the platform for enabling productive collaboration and smarter decision-making.
  • InfoApps are a thing. We’ve been talking about InfoApps for a while now and it is exciting to see them being embraced by our customers – and industry analysts – as the next wave of BI. Wayne Eckerson described them as smart applications that close the loop between insights and action and drive efficiency of operational workers. Things get really interesting when Machine Learning is introduced and Right on, Wayne.
That’s all for now, folks. I’m grabbing my cowboy boots and am off to the shindig. Back tomorrow!