What’s Next in Analytics? Say Hello to Decision Intelligence
When John Stakel, the Head of Information Technology at Export Packers, joined the company in 2019, he had a clear mission: “I was brought in to rehabilitate the technology stack. We had a tendency to be entrepreneurs at every level in the organization, which is great but very execution-oriented; we were absolutely lacking in all sorts of actionable insight.”
Despite being a market leader with a reputation for quality, customer service, and innovation, the company—an Ontario, Canada-based importer, exporter, and distributor of food commodities—was ready for radical transformation from an analytics and data perspective.
When they brought in Pyramid’s Decision Intelligence Platform, they had already begun to make “decisions at the point of insight” a regular business habit. But they were ready for more.
“Pyramid’s Decision Intelligence platform was exactly the right solution for us in terms of price point, functionality, and usability—and just what we needed to start convincing our people of a different way to consume data,” says Stakel.
While already market leaders, Export Packers saw an opportunity to make analytics and data a core part of how business is done. They are not alone. In fact, they are illustrative of many Pyramid customers: flush with data, and ready to use it to drive decisions across the business. Read the full story here.
Decision Intelligence at a Tipping Point
We are now at a tipping point: as the world of work changes, so does the demand for more robust analytics capabilities. “The data analytics field faces a complicated problem: how to use past data, [leverage external data], and predict future behavior, in the face of uncertainty,” the MIT Sloan School of Management reports.
Now, innovative leaders like John Stakel at Export Packers, Jasper Drenth at Philadelphia Healthcare, and dozens more dynamic technology leaders like them are rethinking the conventional approach to the practice of business intelligence. As they do, a framework to meet their new needs has taken shape: decision intelligence.
Gartner defines “decision intelligence” as “a practical approach to improving organizational decision making” which “models each decision as a set of processes, using intelligence and analytics to inform, learn from, and refine decisions” among non-technical business users.
This is how we define it: decision intelligence enables data and analytics leaders to empower any person in their organization—from the C-suite to the frontline and everyone in between—with the insights they need to make faster, more intelligent decisions, even if they don’t have a technical background in analytics or data science.
Decision Intelligence: The Antidote for Pervasive Data and Analytics Challenges
For enterprise data leaders, the growing volume of data and data sources represents enormous potential. But leveraging that potential depends on an organization’s ability to access all its data and analyze it efficiently and for all kinds of purposes. But with all that data, they’re losing valuable agility.
As data volumes go up, speed-to-insight goes down.
Even today, most available business data—more than 80%, by some estimates—is not used to make decisions at all. The data that is used is accessed only by technical users who must service separate business units across the organization, many of which use disparate tools and work with data outside of approved environments themselves.
This contributes to another significant problem: adoption goes down as the number of analytic tools goes up. And as tools proliferate, the whole analytics experience becomes fragmented and complex, which in turn reinforces the clamor for more tools. It’s a self-defeating cycle.
This is because legacy BI tools and processes often fall short in terms of their practicality and decision support across different roles. Therefore, data leaders are limited in their ability to drive real business value through analytics, almost by design.
Decision intelligence solves the shortfalls of business intelligence. With it, the next cohort of analytics leaders will become more agile in their use of data across the organization. They will empower their line-of-business employees to succeed across more flexible and distributed work environments where analytics can now be put to practical use.
Here’s how it works.
Three Defining Characteristics of Decision Intelligence
Many people are talking about decision intelligence right now from all angles. For me, the simplest way to understand the power of decision intelligence is through three key ways:
- Delivering direct access to any data
- Deploying experiences for any person
- Easily meeting any analytics need
Let me unpack each of these three ideas.
1. Deliver direct access to any data
One pervasive myth about business analytics is that all data needs to be put into a central location before being analyzed. That has been a real problem, and as the amount of data at hand grows exponentially, it’s getting worse. When data is necessarily stored in various locations—whether on-premises, in the cloud, et cetera—the time and effort needed to centralize and harmonize it all are prohibitive. Instead, we need to start bringing analytics to the data, not the other way around.
A decision intelligence platform can query directly on your data, no matter where it is. It can provide access to a wider variety of shared data resources, deliver insights based on that data, and make those insights both sharable and explainable for people in an automated and governed way.
Using more data to build more insights across the enterprise is where we’re all headed. According to Forbes: “Literally, every functional area inside an organization like maintenance, research, and development, marketing and sales can benefit from this information as it helps them make better decisions and gives them a competitive advantage.”
DIRECT ACCESS TO DATA
The Foschini Group uses Pyramid’s Decision Intelligence Platform to provide its executive team with quicker access to consistent data. It’s a universal platform for everyone.
2. Deploy experiences for any person
Traditional BI requires technical roles like IT personnel and analysts to leverage whichever limited data resources are supported by the tools at their disposal. Now, data leaders are reconsidering who in the organization should get direct access to data-driven insights beyond technical experts like data scientists alone. The truth is, that’s everyone.
Purposeful inclusion of augmented analytics is key here. According to Gartner, “Augmented analytics is the use of enabling technologies such as machine learning and AI to assist with data preparation, insight generation, and insight explanation to augment how people explore and analyze data in analytics and BI platforms.”
Decision intelligence (powered by augmented analytics) enables any person within an organization—from the C-suite to the frontline and everyone in between—with the insights they need to make faster, more informed decisions, even if they don’t have a background in analytics or data science. A decision intelligence platform provides levels of output and analysis to fit a multitude of needs. Whether someone on your team needs to look at the forest or the trees, they should be empowered to make their decisions based on real insights.
AI-DRIVEN, GOVERNED SELF-SERVICE FOR ANY PERSON
Pyramid’s Decision Intelligence Platform has empowered caregivers at Philadelphia Healthcare to make their own decisions based on data, freeing the organization from the constraints commonly imposed by inflexible business intelligence tools.
3. Easily meet any analytics need
Revolution, transformation, paradigm shift: I see these words used to describe our daily digital world. Things are changing fundamentally and fast. And that is very exciting! It means the wealth of data at hand will be used to guide decisions in all kinds of ways. We’re getting smarter, more efficient, and more effective in our work because we have amazing technologies to help.
This is the time to expand your analytics use cases throughout the enterprise. Decision intelligence, by its very nature, is flexible. It can stay shallow or go deep. How many decisions are made every day at your workplace based solely on anecdotal evidence, the status quo, or a hunch? How much more effective would your teams be if they started harnessing all the data around them to make more intelligent decisions every day?
Once again, Gartner: “Decision intelligence can support and enhance human decision making and, potentially, automate it through augmented analytics, simulations, and AI.”
Empowering people in this way is especially important as operations evolve to more hybrid or remote work environments. From any location, a decision intelligence platform can meet any analytics need—from the simple to the sophisticated—addressing the full spectrum of requirements.
ANALYTICS FOR ANY USE CASE
C2FO had numerous, complex analytics use cases. Pyramid’s Decision Intelligence Platform empowered different functional teams with analytics capabilities tailored to their specific needs.
Decision intelligence is “what’s next” in analytics. And the urgency will only increase in the coming years: 41% of companies have seen increasing requests for analytics that support “data-driven decisions,” CIO reported in March 2021. Now, analytics leaders have the means to respond.
The Pyramid Decision Intelligence Platform makes it all possible. The Pyramid Platform uniquely combines data prep, business analytics, and data science with a powerful direct query engine at its core, driving value for more than 1 million active users today.
Want to learn more? Read our new guide.
If this is helpful and relevant to you, I think you’ll enjoy our new guide: Say Hello to Decision Intelligence. It’s yours: no forms; no strings attached.