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Analytics for All - Challenge or Opportunity?

Monday, 17 Jun 2013 (revised date: Friday, 19 Jul 2013)
Gavin Blackett

I was thinking about Sanjit Atwal's session at the  Developments in Analytics and Big Data – Adding Value seminar on 12th June,  As you recall, Sanjit is CEO of Squawka who deliver 2nd screen analytics in near real-time to football fans whils they are watching a game.  The technology used by Squawka and the analysis and insight it gave to supporters was impressive but it raised a series of questions about the potential implications for organisations:

  • will users want near real-time analytics in their work environment if they are used to it in their personal life?
  • does this present a great opportunity or great challenge to meet those user expectations?  A lot of organisations are still struggling to reach base level in reporting (think of the month end financial reporting process)
  • is (near) real-time reporting really required in a business context?  Obviously there are operational situations where real-time is required but does the majority of analytics actually require real-time?



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Nigel Phillips
Wed, Jun 19 2013 22:26 GMT

I think the near real-time aspects of Squawka are less relevant for business than the player profiling aspects. HR are increasing looking to analytics to develop the 'talent management' capabilities couple that with the profiling expertise being developed for fraud detection and within a couple of years your line manager will have a statistically valid profile of just how valuable the organisation thinks you are. The systems will be sold on the premise that they allow the targeting of coaching and mentoring to improve that value but they will be bought because they offer the oportunity to build a cast iron evidence base for getting rid people whenever a little cost cutting is called for :(


Michael Mortenson
Mon, Jun 17 2013 17:18 GMT

It is certainly an interesting topic. Surely 99% of the time it would be in the "nice to have" rather than the "business critical" category. I suspect though that the demand real-time will generate will far outstrip the necessity.

I think there is an interesting parallel with the use of smartphones. How many of us are still checking our work emails in the late evening or the weekend? And how often are we dealing with things that absolutely cannot wait until the morning? I suspect most peoples answers will be "very often" and "very rarely" respectively.

In other words, are the tools just meeting the demand or are the tools (at least in part) actually creating the demand?