By Kay Somers, Global Alliances Contributing Writer, Dell

Is your organization poised to exploit the latest business intelligence and analytics trends? New tools are pushing advanced analytics into the hands of end users and driving real-time, transactional decision-making. These capabilities can give you the power to transform your organization by delivering the best information to the right people at the optimal time.

Here are five ways that you can take advantage of real-time analytics:

#1 - Empower your users with easy to understand yet robust analytics solutions.

Who in your organization best understands the relationships across various systems and data sources? Who is best positioned to ask “if only we knew” questions? Your strategists, process designers, managers and users.

Historically, the collection and dissemination of data resided in the hands of IT analysts. While user-friendly reporting tools have been around for years, true ad hoc analytics have remained out of reach. However, new tools are emerging in 2013 from both boutique developers and major analytics software players (e.g., Microsoft, Oracle, SAP and IBM) that allow users to browse available data using natural language interfaces. Users do not need to be highly trained experts, programmers or DBAs.

Ad hoc analytics accelerates the time-to-value for analytics and reporting and frees up IT resources, analysts and database personnel to work on other initiatives. Effective ad hoc analytics strategies can be powerful but also require well-planned data management strategies. While governance may come at the expense of some agility, it ensures consistent results and conclusions.

#2 - Expand your horizons.

In 2013, data integration tools will evolve to simplify the marriage of data from disparate internal and external sources, and new solutions will make it easier to blend structured and unstructured data. Organizations can now subscribe to industry, and market-specific data feeds, and merge that information with internal data to enrich analytics and insights. A more robust picture shows the relationships and dependencies between each process, transaction, and strategic decision. This can ultimately drive better predictive analysis, competitive positioning and higher efficiency.

“Big data” was the business intelligence buzzword for 2012. At the enterprise level, big data poses a significant management and integration challenge, but vendors have responded with end-to-end solutions to support processing, security and management needs from the data center to the desktop. In 2013, big data concepts and solutions will expand to smaller organizations and department-level teams.

#3 - Visualize your data to tell a story.

In 2012, infographics took the media and blog worlds by storm. In 2013, they will move to the enterprise. With the rise of Internet resources and social media, users are viewing information 24X7, but given this fire hose of data, they are mostly skimming for relevant details.

Taking the time to distill your analytics into easily understood and memorable insights ensures that your teams take advantage of critical data points and relationships. Be sure to datestamp your infographics to provide a point of reference. Viewers may get confused if the infographic conflicts with data in newer reports and analytics.

Use your business intelligence and analytics tools to move beyond the super-simple pie charts and overly complex, multidimensional mega-charts. Provide a synthesized view of the results by incorporating infographics into your presentations and reports to “show not tell” your story.

#4 - Get ahead with real-time and predictive analytics.

Innovations are driving improved performance and a quicker time to utility for data and analytics in 2013. Deep analytics are available on-demand and run quickly. In 2013, we can say to business owners “imagine if you had the ability to be very proactive and not have to wait for your predictive analytics to come out on a weekly or monthly basis.”

Historically, users have been told that they cannot have true real time analytics because it is either too expensive to make it a realistic option or too resource intensive for the current systems. In 2013, solutions and software providers are delivering tools that empower transactional and support systems to make real-time recommendations – without breaking the bank. Traditional relational databases often struggle with the data volumes and complex queries required for meaningful analytics. New database paradigms such as highly performant in-memory columnar data bases or the unstructured models of big data environments introduce innovative approaches that make real-time analytics a more effective option.

Predictive analytics is not a new science. What is new is the potential to incorporate predictive analytics into current decision-making to make smarter business decisions, reduce risk and fine tune operations. You want to provide meaningful analytic results at the most critical point of need, and operationally, this is often in the hands of your transactional system users.

#5 - Make it mobile.

Mobile workforces are becoming the norm rather than the exception. Add in the explosive adoption of tablets and smartphone computing, and mobile business intelligence and analytics solutions become a critical necessity.

Mobile solutions deliver key analytic content to client devices and can even incorporate user GPS location into queries. Salespeople and other mobile workers can develop targeted responses in real time to address customer needs. Users can run predictive analytics to evaluate decisions at the point of need. Interestingly, smaller organizations are leading the charge for mobile analytics and using it to drive differentiation and competitive advantage.[1]

A recent study [2] forecasts that the mobile business intelligence market will grow more than 25 percent annually through 2016. This growth will drive vendors to develop mobile solutions for organizations of all sizes.

Dell’s solution portfolio

At Dell, we are working hard to deliver solutions across the business intelligence spectrum and to meet the business intelligence and analytics challenges our customers face in 2013 and beyond.

The most recent Gartner Magic Quadrant for Business Intelligence and Analytics Platforms positions several of our Global Alliance partners – Microsoft, SAP and Oracle – as “visionary leaders.” Through our long-standing partnerships, we are developing end-to-end solutions and joint intellectual property to deliver these innovative solutions as follows:

  • Microsoft embeds analytics capabilities into its three main data platforms – SQL Server, SharePoint and Excel. Dell has developed robust reference architectures for SQL Server and SharePoint solutions and created multiple innovative business intelligence solutions based on SQL Server, including the Quickstart Data Warehouse and the Parallel Data Warehouse Appliance.
  • Dell is a leading provider of Oracle database solutions for x86, and is constantly refining and enhancing capabilities for the core database. The recently announced Dell Fluid Cache solution, for example, can enhance the performance of Oracle processing large datasets and high transaction loads. Dell teams are also developing innovative virtualization and cloud solutions based on the Oracle platform.
  • SAP HANA’s in memory analytics delivers a game-changing new paradigm for managing and accessing data. Dell partnered with SAP to develop a certified SAP HANA appliance platform that is in several workload-optimized configurations.

Dell Software is also rapidly assimilating solutions from recent acquisitions and collaborating strategically to deliver innovative business intelligence solutions. Here are a few examples:

  • Project RIPTide provides a powerful analytics solution for mid-sized organizations. This solution uses real-time data integration enabled by Dell Boomi and real-time business intelligence capabilities for reports, dashboards, analytics and services for easy deployment. Dell offers RIPTide as a stand-alone solution or as an extension to the Quickstart Data Warehouse.
  • Dell partnered with Cloudera to develop the Hadoop Big Data solution. This offering delivers an integrated, highly optimized solution that provides super-fast analysis, data mining and processing.
  • Dell Boomi Master Data Management (MDM) provides a 100 percent cloud-based data management and integration solution for mid-sized companies. The solution is designed to be accessible, easy to use and quick to implement.
  • Dell’s recent acquisition of Quest adds a strong portfolio of mature business intelligence tools, including Toad and Kitenga.

Implementing real-time analytics can revolutionize your organization, and Dell can help! Learn more about Dell’s Business Intelligence Solutions on dell.com.

[1] Wisdom of Crowds ® Mobile Computing/ Mobile Business Intelligence Market Study 2012

[2] Global Mobile Business Intelligence Market 2012-2016