Most CEOs would probably say they receive a low return on investment from their business intelligence and analytics. This is because they get the most value from data when the numbers are contextual – when they’re connected to what’s actually happening in their business.
Unfortunately, my estimate is that only about 5% of the time and dollars that go into BI is currently spent providing this context. Historically, the other 95% of work done by the BI or analytics team has been around data preparation and building visualizations. This heavy lifting is essential but yields little value to business leaders.
It’s time for BI to provide more context
For BI teams to deliver more value to their business they need to spend less time preparing data and more time delivering context. Thanks to technology, this will soon be possible.
We’re close to the point where automation and machine learning will be able to take the heavy lifting out of analytics, allowing organizations to flip their return on investment – analysts can spend 95% of their time on context and just 5% on data preparation and visualization.
Ultimately, machines are much better at discovering patterns than humans. They can look at millions of combinations in an instant and find outliers easily. By reducing the reliance on humans to clean and prepare data, organizations can start to get real value from the dollars they spend on BI.
Humans add substantial value in contextualizing data – they can take an anomaly and draw conclusions about what it really means for the business and what the business needs to do.
The more context you can give your numbers the more valuable they will be to your business. To enable your analysts to do this, first, they must be freed from having to clean and prepare data. In the near future, technology will be able to help achieve this, so your BI teams can spend more time giving context to the numbers and adding value to your business.