How will businesses compete in the race to gain competitive advantage from the ever-increasing volume of internal and external data to which they now have access? In Asia, companies are increasingly deploying advanced analytics to drive revenue growth, cost reduction, risk management and stronger customer relationships. But what is the best way to turn analytics into a profitable reality?
One option is to build sophisticated in-house analytics toolkits, which could potentially generate a wide array of insights from such information. However, the common challenge is that analytics capabilities remain limited to functional areas of the business and implementations tend to be tactically rather than strategically driven.
According to Accenture's research with 400 senior executives in ASEAN in July 2013, 67 percent of respondents described their analytical capabilities as either in need of improvement, limited, lacking senior management support or piecemeal. Another 20 percent stated they have the required technical and human resources to apply analytics regularly with some success, but that the focus tends to be tactical rather than strategic. Only 11 percent of respondents said they routinely use analytics very successfully as part of an integrated enterprise wide approach.
New Clarity Ahead - Analytics as a Service
An increasingly useful solution will be to gradually buy those tools and the underlying processing capability and data experts when they are needed. Business leaders have increasingly realised the valuable aspects of Analytics as a Service (AaaS) because different types of business problems require different analytics techniques, talent and fluctuating levels of support for project execution. Constraints on the analytics talent pool reach across industries and around the world and while emerging economies are producing STEM talent in far greater numbers than developing economies, it is still not enough to meet the likely demand for these skills. The severe shortages in supply of analytics professionals make it imperative for analytics users to develop comprehensive strategies for building, hiring or sourcing their required analytics resources. Indeed, Accenture's research shows that 68% of ASEAN companies are turning to managed services to resolve specific analytics challenges.
It is an attractive solution for many firms as they struggle to exploit the potential within data they already possess or can now access. Structured as a holistic solution hosted on a cloud platform that can be shared across the entire business, AaaS is delivered on a subscription basis by suppliers. This can help to deploy advanced analytics capabilities - technology and talent - throughout the company much more rapidly than the business could do itself.
The ultimate aim for AaaS should be to deliver insights on which the business can act. What is the outcome the business desires or the problem it needs to solve? And what data will be needed for this? Answer those questions, and the service can deliver insights for specific individuals in the company to act on to achieve the desired outcome.