The conventional approach to analytics does not allow analytics to live up to its full potential. That might seem a bold statement- one that many may disagree with. But, if we look at “doing analytics” independent of technology, we can easily see why. Analytics is the “afterthought” of operational processes, and we use the term “insight to action” to describe it what we do “after the afterthought”. While analytical insight strives to be very precise, it’s hardly a precision process, and while analytical platforms tend to be some of the most sophisticated hard and soft machinery in the data center it’s typically viewed in very simplistic terms- it’s just complex reporting across lots of data. Analytics is the last mile of enterprise operations that is not natively integrated into business execution.
It’s more the exception than the rule that insight is obvious (and this is also a function of asking the “right question”, another topic that could lead to a spirited discussion). In most cases, the analytical result paints a very complex, multifaceted picture that takes time and effort to deconstruct and really understand. While there will always be value in observing with historical retrospect over time, for the most part it’s just a history lesson. History lessons are certainly valuable. However, I would contend that in most cases, the conclusions drawn from this retrospect which leads to “action after insight” misses the magic moment where action could be applied when it really matters, and in real time.
Let’s bring technology back into the discussion. With HANA we enter a new age, a golden age where analytics no longer has to be a history lesson. HANA can provide real time, automated process control and fine tuning, much like automated flight systems. In automated flight control, hundreds, if not thousands of samples are taken every second or two of the conditions around the aircraft and provides constant feedback to the control surfaces and navigation systems. We can now do the same with HANA if we think of HANA as the enabler of real time, automated operational process control. High volume sampling across multiple inputs, outputs and signals can be provide continuous feedback to operational processes, closing the loop between the real world and the operational systems, integrating analytics into business execution.