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The ascent of analytics: A rundown

Divina Paredes | March 1, 2016
ICT leaders share their experiences on propelling data analytics to the frontline of decision-making.

How do we constantly innovate, and how do we constantly reinvent how we are presenting data and options?

David Bowie, SAS:
Organisations that are insight driven are those that recognise data is an enabler of strategy. Great analytics is not about the answers you get, it’s the questions you ask. Empowering people to own the data and the tools and capabilities to ask the right questions is important to drive the business forward. That stems from creating an insight driven culture and giving people across the organisation the level of insight they need to do make smarter business decisions.

A few years ago analytics was a back office function, it was to give answers to the business. Now it is increasingly coming forward to the business and making it easy to use through approachable analytics. Approachable analytics is the key to getting more people using analytics in the organisation. It is about making it accessible to a broadening base. This requires organisations to have the agility of a start-up but the resilience of a blue chip company.

It is important to keep in mind that an insight driven organisation is not just about the analytics technology but equally about people, talent and leadership. You need a culture of insights that allows people to ask the right questions of the data they have, and then make decisions based on the insights generated. Having insights is the first step. Doing what it takes to turn insights to action is the key.

What kinds of data initiatives are you driving in your organisation?

David Habershon, MSD:
A couple of years ago, we launched a massive programme called Welfare Reform, which completely changed the welfare system in New Zealand. Alongside that was an investment approach where we pioneered new techniques for looking at which people are in most need and needing more intervention.

It was very interesting to hear about the insight and evidence that will aid in the professional ability and judgement for people on the ground.

At the Ministry we were concerned about long-term welfare dependency. We need to assess in real-time the best chance of success for people and decide everything before the person comes to our door. What the data and insight does allow you to do is understand where your best areas are to put in resources. Moving ahead, the next thing is to concentrate on real-time decision making.

So from a more traditional approach of seeing what happens from large pieces of data, we are moving quite rapidly into real-time analytics, where the machine will help make a decision in real time, or the machine will make a decision by itself.


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