Ian Abramson Looks at Analytics in the Time of Big Data

Ian Abramson, principal senior consultant, SWI Systemware Innovation Corp., Oracle Ace, and IOUG past president, provided a look back at the evolution of BI and a peek at what may lie ahead for analytics in a talk at Data Summit 2015 in New York City. Abramson delivered his presentation, titled “Analytics in the Time of Big Data,” as part of the  Data Summit 2015 IOUG track moderated by Alexis Bauer Kolak, education manager for the IOUG.

In the 1990s, BI was about tools for business intelligence and OLAP, the 2000s were about interactive tools, high performance applications, and self-service BI, and in 2010s, BI is about the big data revolution, distributed computing, scalable solutions, and the rise of open source.

The big data market is still immature but it is maturing quickly, and is changing and evolving to bring BI and analytics closer to the end user, and to turn power over business users because they know what the business needs, Abramson told the audience. In addition, today, the well-known three Vs of big data - velocity, volume and variety - have expanded to seven and now include value, veracity, validity, and visibility as well.

Big data is changing businesses, making them more data-driven, changing lives, changing how we learn, and improving the world. And increasingly, data is the new economy, he said, invoking Tom Davenport, who has coined the term Analytics 3.0. In the age of big data, with Analytics 3.0, there are powerful data-gathering and analysis methods not just for a company’s operations but also for its offerings, and the ability to embed data smartness into the products and services customers buy.

Analytics 1.0 was about superusers and not for the masses, and Analytics 2.0 was about making a difference to the bottom line. Analytics 3.0 is characterized by the monetization of data, using data as a service; with analytics being valued by business; development of data products; data sharing; and self-service analytics. Examples of companies that have made the step into Analytics 3.0 are Fitbit, Google, LinkedIn, and Amazon have done. Companies are providing analytics as a product.

However, BI in general is lagging behind what the business needs in terms of analytics. What is needed now?

  • Challenges include combining private corporate data with big data in cloud.
  • Large amounts of are data increasing the complexity of analysis.
  • Mature BI organizations are slow to adopt discovery reporting.
  • There needs to be a greater focus on data governance. In addition, IT and the business need to collaborate more. Business also needs to learn at least to some degree the language of IT so it can better communicate its requirements.
  • For analytics to provide value today it needs not simply report on what is happening now, but to be able to tell business what is going to happen in the future.

Abramson has made the slide deck from his presentation available at