Below is a transcript from a recent interaction with Mr. Rakesh Jayaprakash, Product Manager at ManageEngine on the implications of analytics in data democratization. ManageEngine is an Enterprise IT division of Zoho Corp.
Prateek: In what ways is Analytics helping organizations with business continuity?
Rakesh Jayaprakash: When a natural calamity or an emergency strikes, the first things to break down are communications and the ability to oversee operations. Business leaders need to be informed about developments in operations hour-by-hour to ensure measures are taken to improve efficiency and implement course corrections. A well-designed operations dashboard is imperative when the normal course of business operations is disrupted. This helps top management and mid-level managers monitor organization- and team-level performance irrespective of where they are located.
Many companies, from IT to construction, have turned to analytics applications during the COVID-19 pandemic when remote work took precedence. Success stories such as Morgan-Keller Construction’s use of analytics to support remote workers during the pandemic can inspire other companies to kick-start analytics initiatives.
Prateek: How can business analytics help Indian enterprises avoid security threats?
Rakesh Jayaprakash: Successful cyber criminals don’t hack into enterprise networks; they log in by posing as legitimate users. One of the biggest challenges faced by enterprises is detecting a breach before it inflicts damage to the organization. Detecting security breaches requires carefully detecting anomalies in user and network behavior. This involves analyzing large volumes of machine-generated data and finding actions that don’t conform with normal behavior.
Analytics solutions use machine-learning algorithms to perceive user and network behavior over a period of time, establish a baseline, and look for deviations from that baseline. They can highlight abnormal patterns in the form of visualizations or trigger alerts via email or SMS. Some analytics applications also offer compliance reporting out of the box, allowing security analysts to keep an eye on the degree of compliance with industry and ISO regulations.
Prateek: What is data democratization and how can Indian enterprises benefit from it?
Rakesh Jayaprakash: Data democratization is the process of making business data available enterprise-wide to both technical and non-technical users. It requires organizations to empower individuals across the company to access, manipulate, visualize, and derive insights from available business data. Though making data available to a wider audience may sound like a scary thought, it provides numerous benefits.
The main benefit of data democratization is decentralized decision-making. Making data available at a department level will help mid-level managers use relevant data to ensure the efficient functioning of their respective departments. This way, they don’t have to wait for decisions to be driven by top management. In the long run, organizations will develop a data-driven culture that involves informed decision-making based on historical data rather than enduring by instinct.
Prateek: What are some of the barriers to data democratization?
Rakesh Jayaprakash: Democratising data requires organizations to set up and adhere to security and governance policies. Many companies shy away from doing this owing to the cost and time it requires. However, with the introduction of data privacy laws, such as the GDPR and similar laws around the world, there has never been a better time to educate employees regarding practices around the safe handling of data.
The biggest barriers to data democratization are corporate data theft and the possibility of data misinterpretation, especially by non-technical users. Analytics tools have come a long way in supporting self-service with the help of a simplified user interface that enables non-technical users to comprehend data analysis in a short span of time. Analytics solutions also offer functionality to allow fine-grained access permissions and hide personally identifiable information, enabling administrators to provide the lowest level of access to users based on their role.
Prateek: How is ManageEngine’s Analytics Plus addressing the growing need for faster actionable insights?
Rakesh Jayaprakash: ManageEngine Analytics Plus uses artificial intelligence coupled with natural language processing to quickly interpret business questions such as “What is our SLA compliance percentage this week?” or “Which business service has the highest downtime?” and provides answers in the form of vibrant visualizations. This ensures business users don’t have to understand the business logic or datasets required to build analytics; they can get to the actionable insight directly. Since this doesn’t require administrators to expose the underlying data, organizations can turn data democratization into reality with minimal effort.
Analytics Plus provides out-of-the-box analytics for popular IT and business applications. By performing all the heavy lifting without the need for manual intervention, this solution enables humans to spend more time on decision-making instead of dedicating time and effort to figuring out ways to use the data available to their organization. The application also offers a robust forecasting engine that allows organizations to predict future trends with a higher level of accuracy so they can anticipate and tackle business problems before they cause harm. Additionally, users can set up alerts for critical business metrics, such as service availability and ROI, and only be notified when they breach preset thresholds. Notifications can be sent to collaboration apps, such as Slack or Microsoft Teams, enabling users to concentrate on business-critical functions rather than spend hours sifting through reports every day.
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