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Are you seeing the whole elephant?
April 30, 2019 Big Data Analytics

by CK Tan, Director, Industry Solutions, Asia Pacific, Qlik

“To learn the truth, we must put all the parts together”, a quote from a folk tale in India – The Blind Men and the Elephant – illustrates how different people can have distinctly different perceptions of the same thing. This is especially true when we relate it to decision-making in any modern businesses today, from tactical to strategic decisions and from the boardroom to shop floors.

Just like the blind men in the story, different groups of users can derive differing views or decisions while looking at one part of the data, but never the full story or the whole truth. One reason for this is a lack of a unified view and access to data for the organisation. While many organisations have invested in big data and data lakes project in an attempt to bring together data from every part of the organisation, many have failed to achieve the business impact they intended. In a recent dipstick survey that I conducted with analytics leaders from top firms at an executive roundtable in India, 30% indicated that their biggest challenge was not being able to get data to the right people within the organisation.

One of the delegates at the roundtable who leads the Center of Excellence for Analytics at one of the top global consulting services firms shared: “Providing access is not just about giving them a tool to retrieve the data or discover insights, it’s about providing them with a personalised 360° view as they go through their daily business activities.”

To go about this, the team did extensive interviews with stakeholders and developed an enterprise-wide mobile application that provides a definite source that consisted of more than 500+ metrics assimilated from 10 internal source systems to more than 10,000 executives, giving visibility to performance and critical levers that they needed to manage and drive their businesses. Developed using Qlik Sense, they leveraged the power of the Qlik associative engine and open APIs to build persona-based dashboards using mashups, extensions as well as provided personalisation capabilities to create their own 360° views, all within a mobile app.

Another obstacle cited during the same event was the lack of skillsets available for data interpretation and analysis. More than 40% said that the lack of data literacy internally in their line of business was the most significant obstacle when it came to the widespread adoption and use of analytics in the organisation. Since the blind men could not see, they had to use their imagination to see the world. Data literacy is the eyes we need to provide business users. By equipping them with the skill sets for data interpretation and analysis, they can ask the right questions of data and machines, build knowledge, make decisions and communicate meaning with others. That’s why Qlik is on a mission to help people and organisations understand, analyze and use data with confidence through our data literacy program and the driving force behind the launch of the world first ever data literacy community.

In today’s digital economy, there is immense pressure for businesses to transform themselves to survive in a new world that is continually being disrupted by digitalisation and technology. Analytics plays a pivotal role in getting the visibility to make sense of what’s going on and removing any ambiguity during decision-making. These all can be achieved with adaptive and innovative decision making and endorsing