On Big Data and Analytics. Interview with John K. Thompson.
“While it’s hard to pinpoint all of the key challenges for organizations hoping to effectively deploy their own predictive models, one significant challenge we’ve observed is the lack of C-level buy in.”–John K. Thompson
Q1. What are the key challenges for organizations to effectively deploy predictive models?
John: While it’s hard to pinpoint all of the key challenges for organizations hoping to effectively deploy their own predictive models, one significant challenge we’ve observed is the lack of C-level buy in. One direct example of this was Dell’s recent internal data migration from a legacy platform to its own platform, Statistica. It required major cultural change, involving identifying key change agents among Dell’s executive and senior management teams, who were responsible for enforcing governance as needed. On a technical level, Dell Statistica contains the most sophisticated algorithms for predictive analytics, machine learning and statistical analysis, enabling companies to find meaningful patterns in data. As 44 percent of organizations still don’t understand how to extract value from their data, revealed in Dell’s Global Technology Adoption Index 2015, Dell helps businesses invest wisely in data technologies, such as Statistica, to leverage the power of predictive analytics.
Q2. What is the role of users in running data analytics?
John: End-users turn to data analytics to better understand their businesses, predict change, increase agility and control critical systems through data. Customers use Statistica for predictive modeling, visualizations, text mining and data mining. With Statistica 13’s NDA capabilities, organizations can save time and resources by allowing the analytic processing to take place in the database or Hadoop cluster, rather than pulling data to a server or desktop. With features such as these, businesses can spend more time analyzing and making decisions from their data vs. processing the information.
Q3. What are the key challenges for organizations to embed analytics across core processes?
John: Embedding analytics across an organization’s core processes helps offer analytics to more users and allows it to become more universally accepted throughout the business. One of the largest challenges of embedding analytics is the attempt to analyze unorganized datasets. This can lead to miscategorization of the data, which can eventually result in making inaccurate business decisions. At Dell’s annual conference, Dell World, on October 20, we announced new offerings and capabilities that enable companies to embed analytics across their core processes and disseminate analytics expertise to give scalability to data-based decision making.
Q4. How is analytics related to the Internet of Things?
John: Data analytics and the Internet of Things go hand in hand. In the modern data economy, the ability to gain predictive insight from all data is critical to building an agile, connected and thriving data-driven enterprise. Whether the data comes from real-time sensors from an IoT environment, or a big data platform designed for analytics on massive amounts of disparate data, our new offerings enable detailed levels of insight and action. With the new capabilities and enhancements delivered in Statistica 13, Dell is making it possible for organizations of all sizes to deploy predictive analytics across the enterprise and beyond in a smart, simple and cost-effective manner. We believe this ultimately empowers them to better understand customers, optimize business processes, and create new products and services.
Q5. On big data and analytics Dell has announced new offerings to its end-to-end big data and analytics portfolio. What are these new offerings?
John: Dell is announcing a series of new big data and analytics solutions and services designed to help companies quickly and securely turn data into insights for better, faster decision-making. Statistica 13, the newest version of our advanced analytics software, makes it easier for organizations to deploy predictive models across the enterprise to reveal business and customer insights. Dell Services’ Analytics-as-a-Service offerings target specific industries, including banking and insurance, to provide actionable information, and better understand customers and business processes. Overall, with these enhancements, Dell is making it easier for organizations to understand how to invest in big data technologies and leverage the power of predictive analytics.
Q6. Dell is not a software company. How do you help customers turn data into insights for better decision making?
John: Dell has made great strides in the software industry, and specifically, the big data and analytics space, since our 2014 acquisition of StatSoft. Both Statistica 13 and Dell’s expanded Analytics-as-a-Service offerings help customers better unearth insights, predict business outcomes, and improve accuracy and efficiency of critical business processes. For example, the new analytics-enabled Business Process Outsourcing (BPO) services help organizations deal with fraud, denial likelihood scoring and customer retention. Additionally, the Dell ModelHealth Tracker to helps customers track and monitor the effectiveness of their various predictive analytics models, leading to better business-decision making at every level.
Q7. What are the main advancements to Dell`s analytics platform that you have introduced? And why?
John: The launch of Statistica 13 helps simplify the way organizations of all sizes deploy predictive models directly to data sources inside the firewall, in the cloud and in partner ecosystems. Additionally, Statistica 13 requires no coding and integrates seamlessly with open source R, which helps organizations leverage all data to predict future trends, identify new customers and sales opportunities, explore “what-if” scenarios, and reduce the occurrence of fraud and other business risks. The full list of enhancements include:
- A modernized GUI for greater ease-of-use and visual appeal
- More integration with the recently added Statistica Interactive Visualization and Dashboard engine
- More integration with open source R allowing for more control of R scripts
- A new stepwise model tool that gradually recommends optimum models for users
- New Native Distributed Analytics (NDA) capabilities that allow users to run analytics directly in the database where data lives and work more efficiently with large and growing data sets
Q8. Why did you introduce a new package of analytics-as-a-service offerings for industry verticals?
John: We’re announcing new analytics-as-a-service offerings in the healthcare and financial industries as those are two areas in which we’re seeing not only extreme growth, but an increased willingness and appetite for leveraging predictive analytics. These new services include:
- Fraud, Waste and Abuse Management:Allows businesses to better identify medical identity theft, unnecessary diagnostic services or medically unnecessary services and incorrect billing.
- Denial Likelihood Scoring and Predictive Analytics:Allows business to proactively identify which claims are most likely to be denied while providing at-a-glance activity data on each account. This can help eliminate up to 40 percent of low- or no-value follow-up work.
- Churn Management/Customer Retention Services:Allows businesses to leverage predictive churn modelling. This helps users identify customers they are at risk of losing and proactively take preventative measures.
Q9. Dell has launched a new purpose-built IoT gateway series with analytics capabilities. What is it and what is it useful for?
John: The new Dell Edge Gateway 5000 Series is a solution designed purpose-built for Industrial IoT. Combined with Statistica, the solution promises to give companies an edge computing solution alternative to today’s costly and proprietary IoT offerings. Thanks to new capabilities in Statistica 13, Dell is now expanding analytics to the gateway, allowing companies to extend the benefits of cloud computing to their network edge. In turn, this allows for more secure business insights, and saves companies the costly transfer of data to and to and from the cloud.
Q10. Anything else you wish to add?
John: If you’d like to hear more about what’s coming from Dell Software at Dell World 2015, check our Twitter feed at @DellSoftware for real-time updates.
John K. Thompson
John K. Thompson is the general manager of global advanced analytics at Dell Software. John has 25 years of experience in building and growing technology companies in the information management segment. He has developed and executed plans for overall sales and marketing, product development and market entry. His focus areas are big data, descriptive & predictive analytics, cognitive computing, and data mining. John holds a BS in Computer Science from Ferris State University and a MBA in Marketing from DePaul University.
– Dell Study Reveals Companies Investing in Cloud, Mobility, Security and Big Data Are Growing More Than 50 Percent Faster Than Laggards, Dell Press release, 13 Oct 2015.
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