A few weeks ago I wrote a brief summary of our trip to the Gartner Business Analytics Conference in Vegas and shared the 4 main themes I walked away with from the conference. The Four Pillars of Business Analytics was one of those takeaways and something I’ve been thinking a lot about recently. I wanted to expand more on each one because I think these pillars are going to become more and more important in each organization, regardless of size.

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Business users want access to more and more data. And not just from inside the organization from traditional databases. Business users want to include data sources like social media data and real time geo-location data. Being able to harness all the data available and serving it up to the business user is a critical base component to a solid strategy.


As Business Analytics moves away from a centralized model and towards a decentralized model via a more self service design, the people need to be trained and empowered to know how to use the data. Gwyn Thorn, Lead for Analytics and Visualization Team at Shell told the audience she has 11,000 employees using their Business Analytics solution with 400 additional coming online every month. They spend a lot of time training people to make sure they have the skills they need to use the tools provided.


Is more for the entire organization and embracing a “fact based” or “data driven” culture. A culture where data intuition is important but not the only factor and users leverage data to make business decisions. Since this is still a relatively new industry there is still a lot of education on “why Business Analytics is important” and how you can increase the business returns because of it. The biggest hurdle is accepting and understanding that information is an asset and a powerful one for any company.


Tools need to become more and more open and companies are constantly evaluating how to use best breed of tools to get the results they need. The main point from the technology perspective was to make sure you build a flexible architecture that can be easily adapted. They used the term “agile” repeatedly to express the importance of being flexible. It seems that this pillar is what is driving the higher adoption of cloud vendors because they are easier to deploy and in the event you have to swap them out, they are easy to replace without breaking up the entire stack.

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