The Distributed Edge: Letting Front-Line Executives Model And Analyze Their Own Data


Hugo Moreno

May 19, 2016

According to a recent Forbes Insights executive brief, “Decisions, Decisions: How Leading Firms Are Arming Frontline Executives With Data-Driven Insight,” sponsored by Qlik, business executives are no longer satisfied with the long waiting periods, high costs and questionable quality of data- driven decision support being developed on their behalf. Taking matters into their own hands, leaders are embracing a more distributed model, where end-users can take control of their own analytics, modeling, visualization and decision making. The results, say practitioners, are profound. Consider these examples:

• Delving into data points as diverse as trip utilization, on-time performance and customer service surveys, the U.K.’s international transport-focused National Express is able to rapidly assess, adjust and optimize its menu of destinations, routes, timetables and fares.

• At a major insurer, after placing analysis tools in the hands of business units, end-users overlaid dates of claims with traditional fields to identify and isolate two agents who had been falsifying claims.

• Analysis of device usage data at a major U.S. bank revealed the means to reducing printing costs by over $5 million per year.

• At a leading provider of services to the asset management and banking industries, an accounting executive with no formal prior business intelligence training was able to develop an array of dashboards providing insights so compelling that once shown to prospects, the firm was able to, nearly immediately, sign five new major clients.

Results like these are by no means exceptional. Rather, they are becoming the norm at companies where front-line business executives, those in the right place at the right time to translate insight into action, are given the keys to drive today’s most powerful analytics and decision-making platforms.

The key goals of business intelligence include shifting the approach from looking “behind” to seeing “ahead” and, in general, achieving a clearer and more complete view of what the data reveals is happening in businesses. Key strategies include not only simply expanding the role of business intelligence, but in particular, embracing a distributed data model that places self-service visualization and discovery in the hands of business units.

The latter is particularly vital, says Mike Saliter, Qlik vice president of industry solutions: “Business users rarely have a single question they need answered. The first question typically leads to another and another, with each resulting in new discoveries and insights. Today’s business users expect this level of self-service, but trusted answers are only possible if a governed and distributed model is in place. Allowing users to freely explore a wide range of associations between datasets results in huge productivity savings and can be a game changer when it comes to insights and actions.”

This article was written by Hugo Moreno from Forbes and was legally licensed through the NewsCred publisher network.

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