Big Data Business Intelligence Technology Leader Interview

How Did We Get to Be So Analytical? Interview with Wynn White of Birst

Article first written for, and published as How Did We Get to Be So Analytical? Interview with Wynn White, VP of WW Marketing at Birst on Technorati.

Business Intelligence

Ten or so years ago, the guys who crunched numbers and charted data were easily identifiable by their thick-rimmed glasses and the space they inhabited back behind the lunchroom. A pack of CapriSuns and a box of Cheez-its were the only fuel necessary to take all sorts of disparate data sources and try to pull them together into a pie chart that could be loosely interpreted to drive business strategy.  But over the past decade, things started shifting.

birst_CMYKSpeaking with Wynn White, VP of Worldwide Marketing at Birst, I was navigated back through the historical points of this shift into the “consumerization of data” we are seeing today. “A driving force of all this was things like Google analytics,” explains Wynn, “People are using it every day.” Users who didn’t necessarily before, are able to access, and dive into information formerly reserved for data crunchers. We see evidence of this as the marketing discipline shifts into a stronger mix of creative and analytical.

The Need for More Insight

In a report commissioned by Birst and conducted by Dimensional Research, the company found that the number one 2012 priority for CIOs is business intelligence—making meaningful, actionable insight out of the mass of data points businesses now have. Wynn calls this, “The next wave of operational effectiveness.” He continues, “Big data has taken storm over the past 18 months. Massive amounts of unstructured data are being created, and at the same time we have this increased focus on analytics. The ‘old guard’ BI tools of the past were acquired by companies like IBM, and have somewhat stagnated.”

This study drives into light three main sentiments:

  • Analytics provided by today’s Sales Force Automation (SFA) applications are inadequate
  • has not solved the business analytics problem
  • Improved analytics capabilities are needed to extract full value from

The takeaway being that does not solve all of respondent’s business analytics questions. The solution, the study reveals, is well known for simplifying and streamlining SFA implementation, workflow, and customization.  However, users of the product did not report any better experiences with the built-in business analytics in, than they experienced with other products. In fact, only 20% of users surveyed are “satisfied” or “very satisfied” with the analytics provided.

Two Camps of Business Analytics

What this all means is there’s a new requirement for usable, flexible data manipulation. And we’ve seen this, as some companies have introduced tools fully competent at enabling marketers and engineers alike to produce visual renderings of important information. But in looking at the industry, Birst finds the business intelligence camp is divided in two camps. As Wynn explains, “In one camp are highly capable offerings that are at the same time, super rigid [as to their output]. The other camp includes solutions focused on visual discovery.”

 The problem with the second camp, is those solutions rely on data already being accurate, optimized, scrubbed, because the parts you see, the dashboards, charts and the like, are what Birst calls, “the icing on the cake.” “Collection, combination, integration, de/coding, transcribing and cleansing of organizational data into a usable format, is the hard part,” Wynn expounds. Doing this on a repeated basis is even harder, and that’s where Birst’s solution comes in.

Agile Analytics for Business

Wynn says what Birst offers is a better way to make BI more usable.  The solution is “fast based, with a lot of capabilities, all packaged up into a single offering,” he describes. Because it’s a single integrated solution, not only reporting, dashboards, backend for data management, Wynn continues, “We allow data to be ready for analysis. Giving a lot of the benefits of having a more contemporary benefits of BI.

In the world of big data, with the introduction of so many new data touch-points like social media, the requirements for business analytics have changed. Businesses have more choices where to invest their resources. So marketers and our marketing tools are both necessarily evolving to be able to carefully select where these resources will generate the best return.

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Andre Bourque (@SocialMktgFella) is a cannabis industry media influencer, brand executive and advisor, blockchain marketer, and cannabis columnist. He specializes in cannabis industry partnerships, distribution, and funding. He is a ranked social media marketing and content strategist.

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