A new report finds that usage of professional services in the deployment of analytics software accelerated significantly in the second half of 2015, with 70 percent of the organizations that have adopted analytics software reporting they relied on professional services to implement them.
The Technology Business Research (TBR) report makes it evident that investments in advanced analytics have become a major priority for organizations of all sizes. In fact, the TBR report finds that customers expect to increase annual spending on professional services involving analytics applications by approximately 10 percent year-over-year in 2016.
How advanced analytics are changing the role of IT
But as organizations embrace those advanced analytics, many of them are discovering that the role IT plays inside their organization is fundamentally changing. Historically, IT departments would spend a considerable amount of time and money constructing a data warehouse that was optimized to support a specific set of canned queries. If an end user wanted to ask another question, they generally had to wait weeks for the IT organization to construct a schema that enabled that query to run. Of course, by the time the IT department did that everybody had forgotten why they asked the question in the first place.
Now with the rise of technologies such as Hadoop, the cost of storing data has dramatically fallen. That data can then be accessed by an analytics application running directly on top of Hadoop or moved into a NoSQL database capable of generating schemas on demand. Regardless of the underlying platform, end users can also self-service their own analytics without any direct intervention of the internal IT department.
IT departments will continue to build the foundation for these applications, but once they are set up, the IT organization will be out of the business of constructing the queries. In effect, the days when the IT department was perceived to be a major analytics bottleneck are coming to a close.
The impact of advanced analytics on business
Naturally, most of these analytics investments are being driven by line of business (LOB) executives that are anxious to make better business decisions. Instead of relying on experience and intuition, LOB executives want to be able make decisions based on more known facts.
Another way analytics applications are changing is that rather than running in batch mode, analytics are starting to be embedded in real time alongside the processing of transactions. The goal is to be able to apply analytics in real time to affect a business outcome.
Today most analytics applications are run long after the events being analyzed have transpired. As a result, analytics has not always been seen as a strategic IT investment. Now organizations are starting to use analytics to, for example, identify fraud when a transaction is occurring.
Why analytics matter to IT service providers
Most IT organizations don’t have a lot of experience with modern analytics platforms. For that reason organizations are looking externally for as much analytics expertise as they can find. As is often the case in any hot IT sector, finding the people with those analytics skills is a challenge for IT service providers and internal IT organizations alike. But at this juncture it's hard to see how IT service providers could go wrong by making investments in developing analytics expertise.