What Happens When You Put Hundreds of BI Experts in One Room?

Last week we wrapped up the second day of our global, two-day client conference: Eureka!. Our sold-out event brought together hundreds of business leaders and analytics professionals from around the globe to listen to thought-provoking presentations and engage in discussions about the evolution of the analytics industry.

You may be wondering why we chose to call out client conference “Eureka!”. I’m glad you asked. A “eureka moment” is an “aha!” moment, a moment where something clicks and finally makes sense. In hearing and sharing stories, experiences, and perspectives with industry veterans and peers, it was our hope that attendees experienced moments of surprise and enlightenment.

Unsurprisingly, some of the hottest topics at Eureka! were the shift to embedding analytics everywhere, the impact of AI and augmented analytics on businesses, and how to drive transformational change with analytics.

Eureka!

Embedding Analytics Everywhere

In his opening day keynote, Sisense CEO, Amir Orad, emphasized the importance of lowering the barrier to analytics and empowering everyone to use data to make decisions. Providing analytics to everyone, everywhere means catering to the different ways people understand data. This means moving beyond desktop dashboards and offering insights naturally throughout our lives.

Continuing with the non-traditional side of analytics, Amir pointed to three organizations using analytics in unique ways:

  1. Celestica, a global electronics manufacturer, leverages analytics to reduce its carbon footprint. Within just four months of implementing analytics, they saw a 1,041 metric tons reduction of Co2e. That’s enough energy to power 110 homes for one full year!
  2. Skullcandy, the incredibly popular maker of headphones, earbuds, and other audio and wireless products, has used analytics in their business to virtually eliminate fraudulent returns.
  3. Indiana Donor Network, the organ and tissue donation network for the state of Indiana, has used analytics to increase skin donations by 70% and cornea donations by a whopping 224%.

Solidifying the need to embed analytics everywhere in order to transform industries was Sham Sokka of Philips, who spoke about revolutionizing patient care by delivering relevant data and analytics to the right individual at each stage of client care. “We fully believe in this concept of data democratization,” Sham said. “Not everyone is a data scientist so you want to have a platform that can serve simple data to a patient but complex data to an administrator. Getting the right data to the right person is super critical.”

AI and Augmented Analytics

There’s no doubt that artificial intelligence and augmented analytics are going to continue to impact every aspect of analytics – from data prep to insight discovery.

In her keynote, Jen Underwood of Impact Analytix, discussed the unprecedented pace of continuous technological change we’re currently witnessing. When organizations adopt augmented analytics, Jen said they see a multitude of benefits, which include:

  1. Empowering the masses: Rather than providing analytics for only around 30% of an organization, augmented analytics makes discovering insight easy enough for everyone.
  2. Saving time: Augmented data prep automates and accelerates the process, applies reinforcement learning while humans drive algorithms, and helps improve data quality for faster results.
  3. Revealing hidden patterns: Augmented analytics can find patterns in your data that a human might never detect – or detect when it’s too late – using manual techniques.
  4. Improving accuracy: With the ability to apply statistical significance, uncertainty, and risk model estimates, augmented analytics takes into account aspects of data prep and modeling that manual approaches may miss.

Joining in on the topic of artificial intelligence, Professor and Author Avi Goldfarb, gave a keynote that had participants glued to their chairs. His session demonstrated how artificial intelligence will affect business, public policy, and society in virtually all fields. The point he drove home? Prediction isn’t useful unless you can do something with it. What’s useful about AI and prediction is the ability to take action and create a feedback loop – that’s where the competitive edge comes into play.

Transformational Change

Advancements in technology are great but it’s the changes they bring to organizations that make all the difference in the real world. In his session, Bill Janczak from Indiana Donor Network told his organization’s story of transformation through the implementation of analytics.

Eureka!

As a small organization with a small IT budget, Indiana Donor Network has a large mission – to help people during their time of need. Run traditionally like a non-profit, Indiana Donor Network realized that changing their behavior and adding in analytics was the missing piece to ensuring organs make it to the right place at the right time. Using analytics they were able to make some major, important changes:

  1. Within hours they can now catch errors and common data entry challenges that would normally take around 30-45 days to find. This lead to improved matches for organ transplants.
  2. They are now able to monitor which donor outreach programs are successful and which are not in order to focus their activities and spend their resources on programs that actually drive more awareness and donor authorization so that more people can be helped in the long run.

We’ve Struck Gold!

The last two days were a whirlwind of bright ideas, futuristic visions, and practical applications of analytics to improve businesses around the globe. If the excitement in the room surrounding all of the technological transformations was any indication, I’d say the future for analytics is bright.

I’d like to extend a quick thank you to all of our speakers and customers for contributing to an awesome, fascinating, and fun event. Until next year!

Originally Posted at: What Happens When You Put Hundreds of BI Experts in One Room? by analyticsweek

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