Industry conversations in the last few years have centred around the importance of data to businesses. As the Indian economy transitions to a knowledge-based, digitised economy, the ecosystems and platforms around those are expanding – almost every business has some form of digital process. Hence, in today’s digital world, the volume of data entering economy and business ecosystems is massive.
Businesses already swim in data–about product sales, distribution, inventory, manufacturing, practically all their operations. But unused data is useless. The pressure is on business leaders to make that data more accessible to more people while also providing the resources to best leverage this data. AI technologies like machine learning (ML) are thus being embedded into corporate systems to lay the groundwork for this data democratization.
Democratizing data through augmented analytics
Data is not just relevant for the tech experts anymore; it has become a key enabler for almost all processes prompting employees in almost all departments to use it in one form or another. This is where data democratisation comes in: when an organisation makes data available to all employees and stakeholders, regardless of technical background, and educates them on how to work with data. To push data democratization companies must deploy “augmented analytics” to make data understandable to “mere mortals,” i.e., business people and not just data scientists who now how to build and test models. This is crucial. For one thing, data scientists are scarce and thus expensive. For another, they often are less knowledgeable about the company’s core business than line-of-business managers.
If a department head can use human language to ask questions of data, that manager won’t have to wait for a data scientist or other specialist for answers.
Perhaps even better are scenarios where ML-fueled analytics push relevant reports or alerts to managers based on past queries, the manager’s job function, and other factors. How nice to get the proof point you need before you even ask for it!
The interesting aspect about this push toward “democratised” data science is that it benefits more than just the vast unwashed masses of your average business user. Rather, it allows ML to flow into the enterprise’s nooks and crannies where it can be picked up by the right person at the right time to get something done.
Fast analysis and access to pertinent data can drastically improve performance in applications ranging from Formula 1 automobile and SailGP sailboat racing to fraud detection, the need for real-time data access will be another key driver going forward.
Cloud-based applications with embedded AI and Data Analytics capabilities can significantly assist businesses in democratising data across functions and business verticals. ESSAR Group, Federal Bank, Indira IVF, EMAAR, and Apollo Hospitals are among the Indian organisations that use data analytics capabilities with cloud applications across functions such as HR, Marketing, Financial and operational management, and supply chain management.
The outlook for 2023
We’ve seen immense technological dynamism in 2022 and we anticipate this to continue in 2023 as well as we move towards the mid-years of the ‘techade’. Within this, data will emerge as a huge business enabler and in order for businesses to leverage its true potential aspects like data democratisation and data literacy will become extremely important. 2023 will be the year of truly harnessing data across business operations, rather than simply extracting it.
– The article is authored by Deepa Param Singhal, Vice-President, Cloud Applications, Oracle India