At its Business Intelligence & Analytics Summit 2014 held last month, Gartner characterized advanced analytics as "a top business priority." The IT research and advisory firm noted that advanced analytics was the fastest-growing area of the business intelligence and data analysis software market, exceeding $1 billion last year.
"Rather than being the domain of a few select groups (for example, marketing, risk), many more business functions now have a legitimate interest in this capability to help foster better decision-making and improved business outcomes," commented Alexander Linden, research director at Gartner, during the event.
Indeed, observed technology strategist Shawn Drew in a recent piece for Midsize Insider, the fact that more companies are embracing analysis tools means those enterprises eager to get ahead of the competition will have to up their game.
"What sets advanced analytics apart is the ability to go further than traditional analytics," Drew pointed out. "The best solutions will not only be able to accurately report on the gathered information, but they can give clues as to why certain events occurred, predict what will happen next and even help determine how the business should respond to the data."
Taking the next step
In short, advanced analytics gives organizations the ability to move beyond a simple descriptive analysis based on indications gleaned from traditional BI. As well as answering the basic question of "What happened?" it also addresses the following queries:
- Why did this happen?
- What will occur down the road?
- How can firms address what already happened and prepare for what's coming up next?
Of course, in order for companies to embrace advanced analytics, IT executives must make a solid case for the technology by demonstrating its value to the C-suite, particularly with regard to aspects such as prioritization and resource allocation.
In many ways, the returns associated with advanced analytics speak for themselves.
"I think it's better to focus on data's instrumental value in decision support, which is, after all, the core function of traditional business intelligence and of a lot of big data, advanced analytics and data science applications as well," opined James Kobelius, big data evangelist for IBM, in a blog post for IBM's Big Data & Analytics Hub.
At the end of the day, having access to high-quality data facilitates better corporate decision-making. In this respect, advanced analytics can prove invaluable.