BARC Survey: Power of the Platform

A new study and webinar emphasize the growing importance of an integrated approach to data and analytics.

The effective use of data and analytics is a challenge for most companies today. A recent report, commissioned in part by Pyramid Analytics, offers insight into how companies can leverage integrated software to unleash the power of analytics. Analytics Unchained: Unleash the Power of Analytics with Integrated Software,” along with a recent webinar in conjunction with the report, takes stock of the value real companies are finding in tightly integrated software.

Vertical + Smart = Better

According to BARC, the most-valued use cases for integrated data and analytics software are data presentation (88%) and data preparation (71%). As a result, accessible and intuitive preparation and presentation tools are critical if a company is going to maximize the benefit of its data and analytics software.

This observation falls under the umbrella “Vertical + Smart = Better,” as described by Bill Balnave, Vice President of Global Solutions Engineering at Pyramid Analytics, during the webinar. “When we talk about vertical and smart being better, we 100% believe that a vertically integrated platform is essential for organizations to be able to take advantage of their investment in data.”

To make data prep easier, as Balnave explained, Pyramid’s platform combines many important features and tools, including Data Discovery, Advanced Analytics (ML), modeling capabilities, and intuitive dashboards.

Flow First, Then Scale

One major benefit of leveraging iterative analytic processes is the ability to break down troublesome data silos, which can frustrate operations and bury insights. Among significant challenges faced by companies looking to build analytics assets, the difficulty of accessing data because of isolated data silos was the most commonly reported problem, with 58% of companies surveyed reporting it.

As Balnave emphasized, subordinating scale to flow when it comes to analytics processes is a good idea. “The idea is that you need to align processes that support an efficient flow of data across the organization, and to do this in a self-sustaining way,” he explained. In other words, scale is secondary to nailing the workflow.

Achieving the ideal flow is made possible by the business decision supply chain, a sequence of processes through which data owners can transform raw data into actionable business insights for themselves and others. As Balnave observed, “You need to supply the ability to do this without making employees learn to write code, and it needs to be integrated into a single platform.”

Ease of Use

Perhaps the most striking discovery from the report is about the benefits of integrated data and analytics software. Of the companies surveyed for the report, 68% reported that the major benefit was increased usability through united interfaces.

“Having a software that goes across the whole data flow: that really makes it possible within a unified environment and interface to ingest data and transform, analyze, and present it, [and it] allows you to go much faster from the source to the insight,” explained BARC’s Robert Tischler, one of the study’s co-authors.

With a unique user interface designed for ease of use and quick time to insights, coupled with deep admin capabilities and a shared business logic that promotes collaboration, Pyramid’s platform aims to centralize users on a single platform.

“The idea here is that with the right platform, it’s not a single tool and it’s not stitching single tools together,” explains Balnave. “So for a single platform to provide lots of different user experiences, to cater to the widest range of folks who are in the business—so they can take advantage of this awesome investment—is critical.”

Trust and Transparency

Sharing data is key to providing quick and actionable insights. But what are the most significant challenges faced by companies when sharing and reusing analytics assets? According to the report, 51% said they had trouble identifying which analytics assets had been created by other teams, while 34% said they did not trust the assets created by other teams.

As most panelists agreed, true data democratization requires not just a free flow of data but also transparency about its usage. “This notion of being able to get a full complement of sources of data—cloud, legacy, or third-party—and provide visibility into where that data comes from, how the analytics are built up and produced, is really important,” Balnave explained.

Transparency, as Balnave went on, is baked into Pyramid’s platform. Designed as a server-based software, Pyramid’s platform enables the application to be easily provisioned to users, while still maintaining centralized governance. Beyond this, creating a “data culture” around transparency can be beneficial as well.

“We recognize that data belongs to everyone,” Balnave explained. “From there, you need to align the processes that support the efficient delivery of data across the organization.”

Download a copy of the BARC report for yourself, contact one of our analytics experts, or request a free demonstration to learn more about how an integrated approach can unchain analytics at your own organization.