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Advanced Analytics - Speeding up time to insight / compliance and reducing risk

Posted by Simon Trewin on 29 March 2016

Looking at the traditional lifecycle for a data development project, there are key constraints that drive all organisations into a waterfall model. These are data sourcing and hardware provision. Typically, it takes around 6 months or more in most organisations to be able to identify and collect data from upstream systems, and even longer to procure hardware. This then forces the project into a waterfall approach, where users need to define exactly what they want to analyse 6 months before the capability to analyse it can be created. The critical path on the project plan, is predicated by the time taken to procure the machines of the correct size to house the data for the business to analyse and the time taken to schedule feeds from upstream systems. One thing I have learnt over my years in the industry is that this is not how users work. Typically, they want to analyse some data to learn some new insight and they want to do it now, while the subject is a priority. In fact, the BCBS 239 requirements and the regulatory demands dictate that this should be how solutions work. When you have a slow waterfall approach this is simply not possible. Also, what if the new data needed for an analysis takes you beyond the capacity that you have set up, based on what you knew about requirements at the start of the project? The upfront cost of a large data project includes hardware to provide the required capacity across 3-4 environments, such as Development, Test, Production and Backup. Costs include the team to build the requirements, map the data and specify the architecture, an implementation team to build the models, integrate and then present the data, and optimise for the hardware chosen and finally, a test team to validate that the results are accurate.

This conundrum presents considerable challenges to organisations. On the one hand, the solution offered by IT can only really work in a mechanical way, through scoping, specification, design and build, yet business leaders require agile ad-hoc analysis, rapid turnaround and the flexibility to change their minds. The resulting gap creates a divide between business and IT, which benefits neither party. Business build their own data environments saving down spreadsheets and datasets to build ad-hoc data environments, whilst IT build warehouse solutions that really lack the agility to be able to satisfy the user base needs. As a solution, many organisations are now looking to big data technologies. Innovation labs are springing up to load lots of data into lakes to reduce the time to source. Hadoop clusters are being created to provide flexible processing capability and advanced visual analytics are being used to pull the data together to produce rapid results.

To get this right there are many frameworks that need to be established to prevent the lake from turning into landfill.

  1. Strong governance driven by a well-defined operating model, business terminology, lineage and common understanding.

  2. A set of architectural principles defining the data processes, organisation and rules of engagement.

  3. A clear strategy and model for change control and quality control. This needs to enable rapid development, whilst protecting the environment from introduction of confusion, clearly observed in end user environments where many versions of the truth are allowed to exist and confidence in underlying figures is low.

Kinaesis has implemented solutions to satisfy all of the above in a number of financial organisations. We have a model for building maturity within your data environment; this consists of an initial assessment followed by a set of recommendations and a roadmap for success. Following on from this, we have a considerable number of accelerators to help progress your maturity, including:

• Kinaesis Clarity Control - Control framework designed to advance your end user environments to a controlled understood asset.

• Kinaesis Clarity Meta Data - Enables you to holistically visualise your lineage data and to make informed decisions on improving the quality and consistency of your analytics platform.

• Kinaesis Clarity Analytics - A cloud hosted analytics environment to deliver a best practice solution born out of years of experience and capability delivering analytics on the move to the key decision makers in the organisation.

In addition, and in combination with our partners, we can implement the latest in Dictionaries, Governance, MDM, Reference Data as well as advanced data architectures which will enable you to be at the forefront of the data revolution.

In conclusion, building data platforms can be expensive and high risk. To help reduce this risk there are a number of paths to success.

  1. Implement the project with best practice accelerators to keep on the correct track, reduce risk and improve time and cost to actionable insight.

  2. Implement the latest technologies to enable faster time to value and quicker iteration, making sure that you combine this with the latest control and governance structures.

  3. Use a prebuilt best practice cloud service to deliver the solution rapidly to users through any device anywhere.

  4. Make sure that you combine this with the latest control and governance structures.

If you are interested in finding out more about the above, or to receive a brochure then please contact, or