The benefits of understanding data resources will become impossible for even the most technology-challenged companies to ignore, leading to more demand for AaaS.
As we enter the third decade of the 21st Century, data resources have become an organization’s most valuable asset. Modern businesses have incredibly diverse and voluminous data resources at their disposal. The types and volume of data available to companies have experienced tremendous growth, and information flows through numerous channels that were non-existent twenty years ago. The popularity of social media provides non-structured data streams that can contain important insight into customer behavior and the viability of a company’s products and services. The Internet of Things (IoT), machine learning (ML), and artificial intelligence (AI) furnishes varied data streams that need to be incorporated and managed by an enterprise to stay competitive. However, businesses struggle to use this information productively to understand their landscape and customers to maintain a competitive edge in their market sector. Analytics as a Service can help.
The challenge of leveraging data
Many companies are poorly equipped or not equipped at all to use enterprise data resources effectively. These businesses have either not started on their analytics journey or are spending scarce data engineering resources reacting to issues with their analytics implementations. Ultimately, they are failing to leverage data to create value for their business. In order to derive valuable business intelligence (BI) that decision-makers can use to make better choices regarding business strategy and tactics, organizations need to have the tool, techniques, and talent to analyze the data assets reliably.
Analytics as a Service (AaaS) provides organizations of any size with the tool, techniques, and talent to make more productive use of their data resources and contribute to their ability to grow their business and remain competitive with market rivals.
What is AaaS?
AaaS is an offering that helps business effectively use their data resources. It builds on the previously defined offerings of Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS), Platform as a Service (PaaS), and Software as a Service (SaaS). Business owners who understand their market well and the problems they are trying to solve can use AaaS as a means to stay focused on differentiating their market, ask the right business questions, and get insights from their data without having to maintain the data warehouse, data model, or enhance the visualizations. It provides a flexible subscription alternative to an in-house analytics team, offering access to BI consultants who can take ownership of a company’s BI-related projects.
AaaS could come bundled with multiple BI-related services. However, primarily, the service includes:
- Services for managing data warehouses such as integration of new data sources
- Services for managing dashboards and reports such as adding visualization enhancements
- Services for managing predictive analytics, artificial intelligence (AI), and machine learning (ML) such as model enhancement
The benefits of analytics as a service
Numerous benefits can accrue from the use of an AaaS solution by adopting a data-driven strategy:
Increased focus on building a data-driven business: An AaaS solution provides BI to allow a company to focus on data-driven initiatives that fuel business growth. The insights enable data-driven decisions, which ultimately lead to improved customer outcomes.
Faster time-to-value: The ability to quickly identify business trends gives an organization an advantage in its specific market. Long-term trends can indicate the need for a strategic shift in a company’s focus and help them avoid wasted expenditures. The ability to quickly pivot and take advantage of new opportunities based on short-term trends can be the impetus for new directions to grow the business.
Data democratization and access for all: AaaS are delivered on cloud platforms that are accessible by anyone in the organization. Businesses can obtain personalized reports and visualizations to meet the needs of stakeholders throughout the enterprise. When everyone in the company has access to business analytics, the company benefits from new ideas and initiatives.
Winning new customers: Analytics provide insight into the customer experience that can directly influence a company’s products and services. Data on customer satisfaction and attitude made available through an AaaS platform enables an enterprise to tailor its offerings to grow its business.
Challenges of using an AaaS offering
Implementing an AaaS solution in itself is not sufficient to produce the expected benefits and opportunities for business growth. Some challenges need to be successfully negotiated to use AaaS effectively.
Defining problem statements accurately: Unfocused BI solutions will lead to a delayed business result. A business leader must know the decisions they are trying to make and ask the right business questions to help BI analysts understand what data to extract, what model to analyze them under, and which visualization to use to represent them.
Avoiding overly general business questions: Reducing ambiguity is essential for helping BI analysts choose the correct data, method of measurement, and visualization needed to derive relevant insight – especially when it comes to predictive analytics. Business questions such as “what will IT demand be next year” are too generic. Instead, “what will storage demand on our e-commerce platform next quarter” is specific and actionable to assessing the need to right-size (if demand is expected to decline) or decide to increase storage capacity (if demand is expected to grow).
Engaging the correct provider: It is essential to find the right provider who can be trusted to enforce the necessary security measures to protect enterprise data resources. A Managed Services Provider (MSP) with experience in the company’s market sector will efficiently address the business objective driving AaaS.
The future of Analytics as a Service
As businesses start leveraging AaaS to evolve, it will be necessary to form a tighter relationship between the analytics teams providing the data and the business leaders using it to make decisions. The resulting symbiosis will help establish a clear relationship between the business objectives and the analytics tasks.
The elimination of data silos spurred on by adopting AaaS will help businesses become agile and adapt to changing market conditions quickly. With reliable information available throughout an organization, impactful decisions can be made promptly to take advantage of emerging trends and grow the business.
The benefits of understanding data resources will become impossible for even the most technology-challenged companies to ignore, leading to more demand for AaaS. Businesses that ignore the potential in AaaS solutions may find themselves hopelessly behind the competition.