By Anthony Mancuso
In the era of Big Data, visibility into your data is not only empowering, it can be the difference between failure and success in a competitive and rapidly evolving business environment. With the right analytic tools, data can deliver rich insight and uncover hidden relationships, driving better decision making. As the old adage goes, “knowledge is power,” and for the modern enterprise, knowledge is being able to transform your data into actionable information.
The most obvious benefit to having visibility into the IT lifecycle is the potential for cost savings, whether it’s through discovering under- or over-utilized services and devices and avoiding overbuying, or correlating usage with productivity to drive more efficient processes. However, data visibility can also ensure better service level delivery by helping resolve problems quickly and identifying root causes of service performance problems, as well as provide guidance on compliance risks, dispute resolution, contract negotiation and more.
IT communications is the lifeblood of any enterprise, and yet it has never been easy to measure. With static reports and limited capabilities, organizations have struggled to realize the full benefits from their telecom and unified communications data. The main challenge many enterprises face is that their communications data is unconnected and spread across silos throughout their organization, including in video, mobile, voice, conferencing, messaging, cloud services, other data repositories and more. A lack of visibility into data leads to a number of problems for enterprises, such as a lack of control and transparency into data, poor visibility into inventory, inefficient manual workflows, using too many tools, an inability to provide reports needed by decision-makers and an inability to get to understand and get to the root of problems.
Many enterprises face a two-fold challenge with the massive amounts of data siloed across their organization: how to unlock this data and how to make sense of it. Data alone is meaningless without the proper tools to explore, analyze and interpret. When processed and presented in a meaningful way, data then becomes information and can be utilized to help make decisions. Possessing large amounts of raw data is only helpful when meaningful information can be extracted from it, and this is often no easy task.
Analytics is defined as the discovery, analysis, interpretation and communication of meaningful patterns in data. As opposed to just understanding past events, analytics focuses on why events happen and what will happen next. Using analytic tools and techniques helps break down silos, provide visibility into data and process that data into useful information and insight.
Analytic tools use a variety of data analysis procedures, such as histograms, descriptive statistics, dispersion, comparison, correlations, cross-tabulations and linear regressions, in order to discover useful information in data sets. In order to extract insights on your communications, a wide variety of both internal and external sources of data can be analyzed. External sources of data include usage transactions (across voice, UCC and cloud providers), carrier invoice files, service orders and supplier service inventory, while internal sources of data such as usage transactions, service inventory, billing data, service order and incident transactions, assets and infrastructure and E911 transactions. Bringing together disparate data sources can help form a unified picture and provide more complete answers.
There are two main methods of managing data: traditional analytics, also known as open-ended analytics or self-service reporting, and guided analytics. Traditional analytics includes static visual dashboards and reports, list views and self-created, ad-hoc reports. These tools often require IT support, or a deep understanding of the underlying database in order to assemble reports and dashboards that go beyond standard offerings.
Guided analytics is an evolution from the traditional, self-service approach, where users are guided down a path of analysis using data visualization to explore information, with data able to be analyzed across a number of paths via user interactivity.
Guided analytics combines ad-hoc reporting with curated analytics (analytics using pre-defined questions). Visual analytics intersect with big data to reveal hidden insights often not apparent with traditional analytic tools. Guided analytics can sift through large data sets and simplify complex relationships. When a user clicks on a data point, the interface automatically updates, allowing users to rapidly create visualizations, deeply explore the data and see opportunities and risks from every angle. The beauty of having a guided analytics process is that it enables users to get what they need in a fraction of the time, without using a team of data scientists, because the pre-determined guided process does the bulk of the work.
Understanding what your data tells you — quickly and confidently — is more important than ever before. Insight Analytics, Calero’s guided analytics solution, will give you the answers you need, and answers to questions you might not even think to ask. It will empower you to make informed decisions, strategic investments and cost-effective plans for the future of your enterprise communications environment.
To learn more about Insight Analytics can help your organization, check out this video.