6 minute read 25 Jun 2018
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How analytics-as-a-service can help fuel data transformation

By

EY Global

Multidisciplinary professional services organization

6 minute read 25 Jun 2018

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Organizations seeking to harness the power of analytics faster and more cost-effectively must consider the advantages of managed platforms.

Amid continued disruption, business leaders recognize more than ever that the future of their businesses lies in harnessing the power of their organization’s data. They know that hidden in that data are the insights that can reveal the path to future growth: improved customer experiences, new sources of revenue and better-informed strategic decisions. In an environment characterized by growing convergence, rapid technological evolution and rising customer expectations, using analytics to unlock these insights has become a business imperative.

Yet companies’ progress is hampered by the long implementation cycles and high costs of developing, implementing and managing large “big data” initiatives. While companies know they need to deploy analytics solutions faster and more cost-effectively, they’re struggling to keep pace with the technologies, systems and expertise necessary for extracting the full value of their data.

Today, analytics-as-a-service (AaaS) platforms are increasingly attractive for companies trying to harness data while also keeping an eye on the bottom line. AaaS platforms provide analytics software and operations through cloud-based systems built and managed by a provider. They allow companies to tap into the most advanced knowledge and tools without the burden of developing and managing these systems on their own.

Although many companies have adopted a cloud-first strategy, they’re discovering that the risks, costs and difficulty of making the move to the cloud are significant. Often, companies focus initially on outsourcing specific functions or business processes. With the cost, complexity and strategic impact of managing data rapidly increasing, they should consider the benefits of outsourcing their data and analytics activities through an AaaS platform as well.

Let’s take a closer look at the pressures that are reshaping the analytics environment for businesses, and how a managed services platform approach can help them overcome the challenges that jeopardize their strategic capabilities in this sphere.

Innovation pressures threaten to overwhelm

Firstly, the rapid pace and scale of innovation in the analytics arena is staggering — and it’s only increasing. Ten years ago, both the number and the capabilities of analytics tools were limited. Today, with the increasing availability of cloud-based big data and open-source technologies, new ways to use data and analytics are emerging all the time. Faced with myriad fast-evolving options, organizations aren’t sure they’re making the best use of their financial, technological and human resources.

At the same time, today’s business leaders are facing intense pressure to innovate their products, companies and ecosystems to remain ahead of the market — or their companies will be disrupted right out of contention.

That relentless pace of competitive disruption means that companies can no longer afford to wait for long IT-related initiatives to come to fruition. Typically, these large infrastructural projects take time — 12 months or even more — to be mapped, developed and delivered. That’s just no longer viable; in fact, companies are seeking to turn such initiatives around in two or three months, if not faster.

Plug-and-play is still a challenge

Integration of analytics systems remains a significant obstacle. Every new tool or capability that enhances the organization’s ability to unlock data insights must plug seamlessly into other new and existing systems and tools, in an end-to-end data pipeline asked to serve many different analytical use cases. That’s a tremendous challenge in and of itself, even without the added complexity of operating within perpetual tech evolution.

Information security remains a major inhibiter

While more and more companies are adopting a cloud-first strategy, information security in the cloud remains a major concern. Any individual in an organization can go to a cloud provider, initiate an environment with a few clicks and proceed to put sensitive company data there. Given data’s value as a critically important organizational asset — as well as evolving regulatory obligations around privacy such as those defined by the EU’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) — this exposure poses a significant risk. The risk is exacerbated by the escalating sophistication of cyber attacks.

Can analytics-as-a-service (AaaS) accelerate transformation?

Facing the twin pressures of an unyielding pace of technological and data evolution and an equally unforgiving market environment that demands faster and better analytics performance, organizations are now looking to new platforms for their data and analytics transformation. Outsourcing data and analytics activities to a managed AaaS platform is rapidly becoming an attractive route forward in a perpetually shifting landscape.

Four key benefits should put platform-based AaaS platforms on leaders’ data agenda:

  1. Fast provisioning: Typically, even cloud projects take a long time to get set up, let alone to yield meaningful outputs. Tapping into platforms developed and managed by an AaaS provider means that projects get up and running much faster and results start flowing sooner, in days rather than months.
  2. Pre-selected tools readily integrated: It is one thing to select and deploy the best ingestion, storage and analytics tools — and quite another to ensure that they are fully integrated and working together seamlessly. Managed service providers offer best-in-breed technologies that integrate smoothly, composing an end-to-end platform capable of meeting multiple analytical demands. AaaS platforms also enable the organization to proceed immediately to build the analytics applications they need, instead of investing costly resources in designing and implementing the necessary base platforms first.
  3. Secure: Managed AaaS platforms from reputable providers offer not only in-depth security and privacy expertise but also up-to-the-minute system improvements to cope with fast-evolving threats — faster and more cost-effectively than in-house solutions can. They also put defined controls in place at both the infrastructure and application levels to properly protect the organization’s data — a process that can add months and expense if attempted in-house.
  4. Actively managed, 24/7: Managed service providers give around-the-clock support for both the infrastructure and applications. This active support reduces the burden on development teams, which otherwise face long hours during the day and on weekends. What’s more, access to skilled and capable off-shore resources enable managed providers to offer this support cost-effectively

Fueling competitive edge through managed AaaS platforms

Today’s business leaders are fully aware that the volume, potential impact and strategic value of their organization’s data will only continue to grow. But so too will cyber threats, the rapid pace of technological change and the pressure to control costs.

With its flexible technology architecture, up-to-the-minute frameworks and 24/7 expertise, a managed AaaS approach enables companies to harness the full power of their data, deploying analytics solutions faster and more cost-effectively than their in-house initiatives can deliver. And with ingestion, processing, storage and data science/analytical toolsets at their fingertips via their provider, companies no longer have to manage the underlying applications or associated expertise.

Those companies seeking to remain competitive in today’s Transformative Age, where data fuels growth, will want to consider how today’s sophisticated analytics-as-a-service platforms can accelerate their capabilities — before disruption knocks them out of the race.

Summary

Companies chasing data-driven growth can tap into the most advanced knowledge and tools by using analytics-as-a-service (AaaS).

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By

EY Global

Multidisciplinary professional services organization