Is Your Business Analytics Like Stonehenge or the Burning Man?

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Stonehenge: just a bunch of rocks in a field by a busy road? Well no, it’s one of the most important and amazing historical sites in the world. But one thing it doesn’t do is change: it is a monolithic arrangement built long in the past to serve a purpose mostly forgotten.

Contrast that with a modern equivalent: the Burning Man. At this Nevada festival, they build a huge effigy each year, only for it to be destroyed in front of a vibrant, engaged, creative audience. Build it. Enjoy it. Burn It. Rebuild it.

Is your business analytics like Stonehenge or the Burning Man? Unfortunately, too many businesses have Stonehenge analytics. They do not change their analytics and this is a big problem because businesses do not stand still. Your analytics should be able to respond to business questions as they arise. The analytics you have in place cannot anticipate questions you need to answer in the future.

Business get into this situation for several reasons. Primarily it is that the analytics tools are too hard to use. There might be a big investment in building the One Dashboard To Rule Them All. It’s seen as a linear project, and the expectation is that once it’s built, that’s the end.

Wrong: analytics is never ending. A dashboard should encourage new questions.

A second reason is when businesses purchase platforms that come with amazing looking prebuilt dashboards. These are great at answering the first questions the business has. The Sales team make their sale and walk away. Some weeks later, the business wants to ask new questions but it turns out the dashboard they bought can’t be tweaked. Or, if it can, it’ll be expensive and slow.

Both examples create Stonehenges in your business. Fortunately there are new ways to move your analytics from Stonehenge to Burning Man. In my Big Data Week keynote, I’ll be outlining the problem and seven solutions to the problem.

This blog post was written by Andy Cotgreave , Senior Technical Evangelist atTableau.

You can see Andy on Big Data Week stage, check the agenda here.


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