The Road ahead for Data Analytics and Business Intelligence


At Sigma, we believe that data belongs in the hands of the domain experts and business leaders making critical decisions. They shouldn’t have to rely on pre-built dashboards or predefined reports that were created by someone that doesn’t necessarily understand the intricacies and nuances of the business, campaign, or initiative. We believe in providing them with access to their company’s data and the ability to explore it securely and safely. Sigma gives companies a single source of truth that is easy for domain experts to navigate, via a spreadsheet-like interface, while simultaneously delivering the extensive security, governance, and control that companies need. Controlled data exploration is undoubtedly the future of Data Analytics and Business Intelligence (A&BI).

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A&BI is no longer a ‘nice to have’ – but a ‘must’ for businesses who want to compete. It is not only an issue of being able to make data-driven decisions either, but there is also a time factor that has entered the equation. Companies need to be able to make decisions quickly, and they need to make those decisions based on data from across their company. Just about everything today is time-sensitive because the world is moving at such a rapid, always-on pace.

Companies of all sizes will need to contend with the ‘Ivory Tower’ versus ‘Wild West’ conundrum. In an Ivory Tower scenario, there is a bottleneck that is created by traditional A&BI tools, where a few SQL-savvy data experts deliver insights to the rest of the business. This creates an organizational chokepoint that drives business leaders to download data into Excel to do their own analysis. The ‘Wild West’ scenario is more of a free-for-all approach, where everyone has access to data and can do what they want with it. Ultimately, both options lead to governance issues, security breaches, data inaccuracies, and information silos.

The Ivory Tower – Wild West puzzle, along with the need for real-time data and the ability to analyze all of a company’s data – among a variety of other factors – will hasten the migration to cloud solutions, especially cloud data warehouses (CDW). A cloud computing platform, a CDW, an ELT system, and a cloud-built A&BI tool, like Sigma, are all essential to a cloud analytics stack that is fit to meet today’s real-time demands. They are a non-negotiable for any company that truly wants to be data-driven. The benefits of the cloud – and the risks of being left behind – are just too great to ignore.

Best Practices For Data Analytics

First, a company’s data is most useful when you can look at all of it holistically, so make sure you’re bringing in data from all the available sources in your organization. You never know what kind of connections, patterns, or trends you might discover until you are looking at the complete data picture, and then double-clicking on points of interest.

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Second, banish spreadsheets and other static methods of storing or analyzing data. All data should be kept in the cloud, where it is secure and up to date.

Finally, data is most useful when everyone has the ability to explore it, both individually and collaboratively with other team members. The democratization of data and collaborative analytics are the future of business intelligence. Make A&BI a team sport.