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Analytics – the modern-day story teller

Analytics for analytics' sake does not deliver the business value that it should, says Desan Naidoo, MD of SAS Southern Africa.

The complexity of technology and the monumental task of understanding its true value is often the biggest obstacle businesses face, as they explore what organisations need to implement to stay ahead of their competitors, says Desan Naidoo, SAS Southern Africa Managing Director.

Take the analytics space, for example. We get so caught up in explaining all the buzzwords and products – advanced analytics, business and customer intelligence, OLAP, data management, on-demand solutions, HPA – that we often do ourselves a disservice.

At the recent annual SAS Forum event, however, I came across an analogy that simply fit like a glove. My colleague, Carel Badenhorst, who is the Head of Information Management Practice Middle East and Africa, Pakistan and Turkey, took the view during his presentation to the forum delegates that analytics practitioners are our modern-day story tellers. We may all have a different part to play in the analytics cycle, but at the heart of it, we are relating the story of our business.

This is quite a contrary view, but one that I fully subscribe to. Analytics for analytics' sake simply does not deliver the business value that it should. Every analysis we do, whether it is a great piece of analytics or not, has to track back to the business and provide measurable insight.

Ask yourself the question – what story can I tell using the information that I have gleaned from the analytics? If you can't tell a story, of for example, how Mr Client is engaging with the company and how you can improve that relationship as a result of the story elements you are sharing, you shouldn't be running that particular analysis.

Remove your business hat and replace it with your story hat. That way, we do not over-complicate a very valuable tool at our disposal.

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SAS Institute
Desan Naidoo


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