Speakers at the SDForum analytics conference last Friday on the Stanford campus made clear that the next wave of analytics brings with it exciting new opportunities. And here are the keys elements that make this next wave so exciting:
- New data sources. First wave analytics was limited mostly to structured data found behind the firewall. The next wave of analytics pulls all forms of data from everywhere—data from sensors embedded throughout our physical world, data from the mobile phones that we carry wherever we go, unstructured data pulled from anywhere.
- Mobile. Mobile devices both generate data and serve as our interface to that data, dramatically increasing its immediacy and value.
- Immediately actionable. The first wave of analytics created reports that looked back in time, dashboards that were little more than eye candy, and spreadsheets that degenerated into Excel hell. The next wave will be real-time, predictive, and immediately actionable.
- Big and agile. The first wave of analytics scaled but at the cost of agility. There were big IT projects that tended to bog down. The next wave will utilize virtualization and sophisticated architectures to scale with agility.
- Core of business. First wave analytics were an afterthought for most enterprises, optimizing processes on the margins. Next wave analytics will be core to the business, enabling innovative new business models that could not exist without analytics.