Interview: Accenture Looks to Gather and Analyze Data at the ‘Speed of Now’

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Those in the Big Data world recognize that faster is certainly better and that the quickest organizations have a distinct advantage over the competition. By implementing real-time strategies in data analysis, Accenture sees this advantage as one that will render actionable results and glean enormous insights into doing business. We sat down with Vincent U. Dell’Anno, Managing Director, Accenture Digital – Big Data & Advanced Analytics to learn more.

insideBIGDATA: Accenture is a big company with many solutions. What do you offer in the realm of Big Data?

Vincent U. Dell’Anno

Vincent U. Dell’Anno

Vincent U. Dell’Anno: Accenture Analytics, now a part of Accenture Digital, helps companies in all industries around the globe manage their analytics and big data challenges to achieve a return on their analytics investments. To succeed in today’s digital world where big data is constantly growing, we’re finding a large number of companies are taking the big data challenge head-on by either exploring, experimenting, or implementing big data analytics initiatives to drive outcomes — whether it’s to generate operations efficiencies or provide consumers with more relevant experiences to drive loyalty for a competitive advantage. For example, Accenture is helping clients to: utilize data as a platform, rapidly deploy data for analysis, apply disparate external data and internal to shape context, and exploit data discovery and data science techniques to derive insight and value.

insideBIGDATA:  Accenture uses the term “Real Time Enterprise” in its marketing pieces. What does this mean exactly?

Vincent U. Dell’Anno: A “real-time enterprise” is an enterprise that generates actionable insights from data faster than its rivals can outperform. Much value is to be gained from being a business with a speed-oriented mindset that expedites data-driven insights – and decision-making processes and operations – across the organization. In its simplest form, embracing data for real-time decisions can be a competitive differentiator and catalyst for business success.  In a digitized world, everything is turned into data.; everything is quantifiable; everything is connected. The scale and scope of all this data that the enterprise must cope with poses a challenge for how it can be mobilized as quickly as possible to generate insights for consumption by people and things. The real-time enterprise is the enterprise that is always on and can operate at the speed of “now”.

insideBIGDATA: What about the phrase “Democratization of Analytics”–What does this mean in the context of your company’s products and services?

Vincent U. Dell’Anno: The democratization of analytics signifies that today’s companies are now looking for applications and solutions that cover the ‘last mile’ of analytics, with the goal of getting analytics into the hands of the business users who can then gain actionable insights. The Democratization of Analytics doesn’t mean that every individual is or should be a data scientist, mathematician or statistician. Our solutions, products and services intend to make analytics and analytic capabilities more understandable and more available to individuals across the enterprise so they can operate more effectively and execute accurately. The Democratization of Analytics means that the enterprise can deliver more impactful outcomes, faster.

insideBIGDATA: Visualization is an interesting and burgeoning aspect of data analytics. How can businesses, in your opinion, get the most from this technology?

Vincent U. Dell’Anno: Data visualization, or visual renderings of data sets, have changed the way information is communicated in corporate contexts as they visually highlight critical information and putting it in front of the audience’s eyes. From real estate companies to banks to retailers, companies in all industries are tapping into the advantages that data visualization offers to better identify and display operational trends. Here are five main tips on how enterprises can get the most out of this technology:

  • Be agile: Select a single area of data to focus on, develop a prototype to get business buy-in, then prove the technical solution.
  • Focus on user experience: Involve graphic designers and user experience experts at the start of a visualization project; this will increase the chances of getting this critical aspect right.
  • Know your data: Blend functional understanding of the data area and technical expertise together.
  • DIY or buy: Research data visualization technology options and determine what’s best for your company’s needs.
  • Plan for talent needs: As growing analytics adoption is putting data visualization talent at a premium, make sure the right talent is available.

We’re helping clients leverage visualization tools and techniques as part of the analytic or data science process. Visualization is no longer just about representing data in a report or a dashboard. Visualization is about communicating insights in a clear, concise and compelling way that is understandable by the audience. We believe that visual literacy then is an important discipline for the business. The business can get more out of visualization technologies and techniques by making the following considerations –

  •   What is the most appropriate visualization to represent my data?
  •   What question is the data being used to answer?
  •   Is my visualization part of a good overall analysis of the data?
  •   What visualization type is the best to show the patterns in my data? Do I even need a visualization?
  •   Is my data valid and being presented with integrity?
  •   Does what the visualization shows make sense?
  •   Can my visualization stand on its own and still be understandable by its audience?

insideBIGDATA: Big Data is big and obviously getting bigger. What’s Accenture got in store for us? What’s the exciting news for the future?

Vincent U. Dell’Anno: As big data continues to grow and businesses become more connected through machine-to-machine technology and the Internet of Things, it will be exciting to see the new opportunities that will be presented to enterprises and consumers. For businesses, new strategies will take shape and organizational changes will occur to not just keep up with the wealth and speed of data, and changing consumer expectations, but to leverage for competitive business advantage.  We are laser focused on helping our clients leverage big data to drive outcomes at the speed of “now”.

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