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Analytics Platform Automation Kit (APAK) addresses a critical gap in BI capabilities by fully automating the most time-consuming activities required for successful deployments and upgrades. It saves efforts spent on the release management activities which are repetitive, manual, and error prone.

Businesses deal with surging data levels, new technologies, and the need to generate fresh insights every day. The best data asset is of no value if your users or systems cannot discover, browse, understand, and use it with ease.

Data Related Challenges Faced by Organizations

While data and tools are widespread today, many organizations are unable to derive business value from data at speed. After investing years of efforts in building data lakes, data warehouses, reports, and self-service capabilities, they find that generating insights from ad-hoc granular data is still very time consuming—their data consumption tools are self-service, but data provisioning is not.

Departments seeking to frequently combine internal data with newer external data invest in MIS staff for manual data blending which is time consuming and error prone. Use cases like customer journeys and customer 360 insights not only requires data from multiple business operations that are spread across multiple data sources, but the data questions are also typically ad-hoc requiring experimentation at speed. The need for governed access to sensitive data compounds this challenge.

Organizations are seeking a zero-touch approach for data blending, google-like search interface for data, and self-service data provisioning supported by business catalog to speed discovery, consumption, and collaboration.

Enabling a Single View of Data With a Logical Data Fabric

Data virtualization is a logical data layer that integrates all enterprise data siloed across the disparate systems and delivers unified data services to application and users in real time. The data virtualization layer contains no actual data but only the metadata required thus enabling data access on the fly, without the costs of moving and storing data. It makes self-service analytics a reality for business users by unifying fragmented data while maintaining data integrity and eliminating data provisioning delays.

Data virtualization makes centralized security management possible through a unified access layer where all access policies and privacy rules can be maintained in a single place. When data consumers need to access a source, they do so through the data virtualization layer, which contains the metadata for accessing each source, and returns a secure, virtualized view of the data to the consumer in real-time. These views are typically traceable and auditable and will be delivered only to authorized consumers.

Some of the key benefits of data virtualization are listed below:

  • Flexibility: Adds flexibility to enterprise data integration architectures to virtualize and integrate inherently different data models as well as experiment with diverse data types much faster using a fail-fast approach
  • Agility: The abstraction layer provides agility for creating semantically standardized views of data, independent of the underlying physical construct and representation of that data
  • Reusability: Enables creation of shared, reusable data access layer to deliver data-as-a-service for varied business needs
  • Cheaper: Reduced costs for developing, managing, maintaining integration flows, reduced data movement and storage costs
  • Faster: Shorter time to value enabled by self-service capabilities

Watch Us On Demand

In a recent session at the MarketsandMarkets Big Data 2020 APAC Virtual Summit, I along with Alexander Hoehl, Senior Director of Business Development (APAC) from Denodo, discussed common data-related challenges faced by our banking clients, what data virtualization means, and how it modernizes your data landscape, enabling a single view of business data in real-time, whether for customer360, financial intelligence, risk or regulatory compliance.

We also talk about some of the customer use cases and how we can help you solve your unique data-related challenges.

Self-service: The Time is Now

Create confidence in your decisions through a self-service single view of data and get the most out of your data. No matter where you are in your data and analytics journey, we are here to help. Get started today with Infocepts.

Recent Blogs

Most security professionals will tell you that the most vulnerable spot in a company’s digital security net isn’t any particular technology—it’s the users themselves. While digital protection policies start at the top of a company, every team member needs to be an active participant.

It’s wise for tech leaders to develop a set of digital protocols that apply across the company. Below, 12 experts from Forbes Technology Council share their tips for vital steps all employees need to take to ensure robust digital security.

1. Starting Security Education Early And Refreshing Often

Education is key. To help protect Elastic from attacks targeting our workforce, we provide a program based on communication and training to all personnel with access to Elastic systems, regardless of role. We establish policies in new-hire onboarding and insist on continued education via annual refresher courses throughout an employee’s tenure. – Kim Huffman, Elastic

2. Regularly Testing Security Awareness

Take constant tests and quizzes. My team has found this practice to be most effective when it comes to protection and security, as well as for staying up to date in the matter of new additions. After all, it is the most effective way to ensure that your company’s security rules and regulations are learned and well-remembered through time. – Daria Leshchenko, SupportYourApp Inc.

3. Using A Password Manager

It starts with password security. We require employees to use a company-provided password manager to generate and store strong, unique passwords for each account. While it’s required for use internally, it’s also an employee benefit we encourage people to leverage for personal accounts. A compromised personal password reused in a work context could enable criminals’ easy entry into your network. – David Endler, SpyCloud

4. Practicing Good Credential Hygiene And Enabling Auto-Updates

We strongly recommend all employees practice good credential hygiene. That means not using weak or default admin/system passwords; instead, consider using a strong phrase. Also, ensure your employees have proper security training to avoid phishing attacks and downloading malware. Lastly, enable automatic updates for the operating system you are using and update as recommended. These should be table stakes but are often forgotten practices. – Gaurav Banga, Balbix

5. Implementing Two-Factor Authentication

Digital protection starts with active security protocols. All employees should utilize two-factor authentication on all logins, as 2FA acts as a kind of “double lock,’’ securing private information while validating user identity. While a basic security protocol, it’s one way to ward off potential hackers with the added benefit of reminding everyone within your organization that security is there. – Robert Weissgraeber, AX Semantics

6. Using A VPN

Most executives feel the shift to remote work has increased the need for data loss prevention strategies and for good reason: Not all employees share the same security priorities. Tapping into unsecured Wi-Fi networks is just one example. Yet, the solution that can and will cover a lot of ground is to encourage employees to use a virtual private network before signing on. Encryption is key. – Meghann Chilcott, EHR Data

7. Purging Outdated, Unused Data

What all employees should be doing but usually don’t is purging outdated, unused data. Any data no longer needed for daily operations is a nuclear asset that increases the “blast radius” of harm if a business is breached. To manage and protect digital properties properly, companies should create annual mandates on cleaning out outdated, unused data to create good hygiene habits. – Caleb Barlow, CynergisTek

8. Replace Or Supplement Web-Based File Sharing

Utilize a unified file sharing application internally either alongside or instead of something Web-based such as Google Docs, which may be more prone to data breaches. This will not only keep internal data and documents safely stored, but it can also help protect any sensitive client information. – Andrew Jornod, VertexOne

9. Not Sending Sensitive Info To Personal Email

Never send sensitive company or client information to personal email accounts, even if it’s just to print a document out at home. Although the action is often well-intentioned, valuable data now sits in an environment that is not secured by the company, leaving it vulnerable to cybercriminals, and your company could be at risk of breaching data protection regulations such as GDPR. – Edward Bishop, Tessian

10. Limiting Access To Consumer Data

At Infocepts, we take customer data privacy very seriously. Our need-to-know policy is enforced, and only associates who need access to customer data are provided access to the systems and data stores. Data flow across project teams is restricted by physical and digital controls. Systems-based controls are coupled with training so associates are fully aware of why data privacy is crucial and how to ensure it. – Shashank Garg, Infocepts

11. Not Clicking Unknown Email Links

Since digital assets are very valuable to an organization, one key protocol is not to click on any links in emails that come from untrusted members or unknown sources. Conducting separate employee training with email protection software will go a long way to help. – Buyan Thyagarajan, Eigen X

12. Reporting Anything Out Of The Ordinary

If you see something, say something. If someone notices something out of the ordinary, such as an unusual piece of code or a newly created file, they should immediately report it. By definition, hackers and their activities don’t belong in the environments they target, so it is up to everyone to identify when things are out of place and up-level it to those who can prevent further intrusion. – Fabrizio Blanco, Viant Technology

By 2022, 90% of corporate strategies will explicitly mention information as a critical enterprise asset and analytics as an essential competency
– Gartner, 100 Data and Analytics Predictions Through 2023

In today’s digital era, data & analytics projects play a critical role in the digital transformation journey for any organization. However, many still struggle to understand, communicate, and measure the business value of D&A projects. Understanding and show showing the ROI of any project is essential to foster transparency with stakeholders and build a strong foundation that D&A projects contribute value.

What is business value?

Business value, by definition, is a tangible or intangible benefit that can be realized by the stakeholder of a project. Tangible business value focuses on how the project affects the income statement, through reducing costs or increasing revenue. Equally important, intangible value covers productivity enhancements, key differentiators, and customer satisfaction, like improving hiring efficiency of an organization. You need to measure ROI on your data and analytics strategy, but do you actually do it?

It starts by making a paradigm shift in first identifying the business goal and then regularly linking your initiative back to your business strategy and outcomes. Many project teams are solely focused on operational efficiency and therefore they do not any value achieved throughout the project. Through a well-defined framework, you can begin to understand the value created, how it adds to the business, and how it aligns with business strategies.

3 Steps to Show Business Value

1. Understanding and identifying the business vision

The first step is to understand what problem the business needs to solve and what the business wants to achieve. We used an interview method to identify who will use the data, when the information is needed, and how they will engage with the insights. We then understood that the commercial sales department started a commission campaign for a new wireless product, and the stakeholders wanted to encourage the sales team to make more sales of this new product to capture the market.

Through this exercise, we identified the tangible and intangible values of the projectthe strategic value was to improve productivity, and the economic impact was to improve the sales figure and footprint of the new product.

2. Gather necessary data and develop insights

Once the business objective was clear, next categorize business value buckets, such as revenue gains, cost savings, and customer satisfaction, and identify which data points would affect these buckets. For example, if you claim to be adding incremental revenue, then track the amount on a daily, weekly, or monthly basis. We captured data on how much manual effort was required to calculate the commission, and how many additional product sales occurred.

3. Articulate business value for stakeholders

The last step is presenting the business value. A key aspect in articulating business value is understanding what is valuable for the business stakeholders. In banking, it’s about delivery services, so the value is productivity improvement by saving hours of manual effort. Whereas in retail, it’s about sales, so the value is the improvement in revenue or gross sales (in % or $ terms). Articulating the value that a data & analytics project will deliver reminds the stakeholders of the value delivered.

We used a simple comparative method to articulate the three business benefits our solution provided. We validated it with the business sponsors before showcasing the stakeholders.

Use Case: Finding Value in Intelligent Automation

Our customer is a world leader in light controls and lighting control systems for both residential and commercial applications. They are the leading manufacturer of more than 17,000 energy-saving light, shade, and temperature controls for new and existing homes and offices.

At Infocepts, we built an automated performance tracking system to determine commissions for their sales team based on multiple criteria and needed to provide insights to the Product Manager for effective decision making. Prior to the tracking system, they were manually capturing monthly data and performing calculations, which were time-consuming and prone to data inaccuracy.

Though it may seem like the tracking system was a standard process automation project, the business intent for the commission program was different. By using a well-defined framework, we were able to determine the business value by connecting the project to the business goal.

Revisit Your Business Strategy

There is no one-size-fits-all formula for measuring business value. But following the easy 3-steps of understanding the business vision, gathering necessary data and developing insights, and articulating business value for stakeholders will guide you through the process. Next time you undertake a data & analytics project, take the time to connect the effort to the intended results. Communicate the value of your project within your organization, it will show what data & analytics can accomplish.

Questions about where to start? Get started with Infocepts, and one of our analytics experts will consult with your company about your goals your upcoming project.

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