Incorta Insight

Re-thinking four decades of business intelligence and analytics.

October 02, 2017  ·  by: Jeff Epstein  ·  Blog
Analytics

A CFO's Perspective: How to Resuscitate Enterprise Analytics

As a longtime chief financial officer (CFO) and business analyst, there are three things I always want to know:

1. What happened?

2. Why did it happen?

3. What’s going to happen next?

These are hard questions to answer unless you have tools in place to compile, synthesize, and analyze your company’s data. Then, even when you have such enterprise analytics tools, getting the full insight you need is harder still.

That’s because most tools in practice today are not designed for ease of use at enterprise scale. Take Excel. All the finance departments I know still use Excel in some manner. This reality is despite the fact that even your most experienced Excel guru faces daily problems with it: Excel by nature is not as secure as other applications, its workbooks often have errors, and it’s hard to inherit and utilize workbooks built by someone else.

Even in highly optimized environments, there’s a limit to what Excel can accomplish as far as answering my three questions. That’s why many organizations today pair Excel with enterprise analytics technology, in the hopes of gaining a real-time, integrated view of data from all the different business applications they use.

Unfortunately, most of today’s enterprise analytics require a costly data warehouse; reliance on expensive, highly trained, specialized users; and large and ongoing technical development and support investments.

With a ton of money and effort, you may eventually gain that comprehensive view of data, but I doubt your business users will be any closer to answering my three questions, on their own, without requesting help from IT.

This scenario has prevailed since enterprise analytics was first introduced. And the frustration that results is why the business has given up on asking the hard questions.

I can hardly blame them. And I’m willing to bet that, if you face a similar scenario of limited systems and processes—of realizing over and over that you couldn’t get answers to your questions—you probably stopped asking the hard questions, too. After all, why expend time and energy asking for things you know you’re not going to get? That’s like intentionally banging your head against a wall.

So business users stop imagining interesting, insightful questions that potentially could drive massive business change, and instead resort to asking basic, uninventive questions they’re told the system can answer. They’ve been conditioned to avoid asking hard questions. It’s a disheartening transformation to witness: eager, optimistic, motivated individuals eventually demoralized, disappointed, and disheartened. That may not have been the goal of enterprise analytics, but it’s certainly been a result.

And the business suffers because of it. Data insights are incomplete; the critical thinking and analytical capabilities of smart business users are stunted; and the full value of business data is never realized.

How Incorta Resuscitates Enterprise Analytics

That’s why I’m so excited about Incorta’s new no-data-warehouse approach to enterprise analytics. It empowers business users like me to easily answer the questions I want answered. It doesn’t limit me to asking altered questions a data scientist or IT specialist tell me can be answered. Incorta lets me ask the questions I want answered.

It’s truly revolutionary. And this is because the Incorta team knows firsthand what business users need in an enterprise analytics platform.

Incorta knows if it’s hard for business users to ask new questions, an enterprise analytics tool essentially is unusable. So Incorta is built to let non-technical business users and analysts freely adapt what they want to ask at whatever time, without having to constantly go to IT.

Incorta knows one question often leads to another. So Incorta lets you easily drill down into any data and any level of detail, engaging in a conversation with your data.

Incorta knows the questions you ask tomorrow will be different from the questions you ask today. Launch a new product or acquire a company? No problem. Incorta easily can shift and integrate new data as needed to meet your business needs.

Incorta knows performance plays a critical role in user satisfaction. So Incorta is built for speed of use—and that means not just how long it takes you to get the answer but also how long it takes to run the query. You can get fast, accurate answers on your own, rather than wait in line for help from scarce technical resources.

With Incorta, you no longer have to settle for asking mundane, basic questions. You and your users can ask the questions and do the things you couldn’t do before, while saving money. You can stop merely collecting data, and start using that data to answer your most pressing business questions.

Incorta lets you easily ask the questions you forgot you even wanted to answer. You know what my three questions are—what do you want know?

Find out more about how Incorta forever and positively changes enterprise analytics—schedule a demo at incorta.com/demo.

“There are a million different ways to look at our data. With Incorta, we’re able to decide exactly what we’re going to see and when we’re going to see it.”

Greg Waldman, Business Intelligence and Analytics Manager - Toast