Six topics on IT's mind for scaling analytics next year

We recently wrapped up participation in the all-virtual AWS re:Invent 2020 where we shared our experiences from scaling Tableau Public ten-fold this year. What an informative few weeks! It wasn’t surprising that the theme of scalability was mentioned throughout many sessions; as IT leaders and professionals, you’re working hard to support remote workforces and evolving business needs in our current situation. This includes offering broader access to data and analytics and embracing the cloud to better adapt, innovate, and grow more resilient while facing the unexpected.

As you welcome more individuals to the promising world of modern BI, you must ensure systems and processes are equipped to support higher demand, and empower everyone in the organization to make the most of your data and analytics investments. Let’s take a closer look at what’s top of mind for IT to best enable the business while scaling your analytics program. 

Supporting your data infrastructure

Many organizations say remote work is here to stay, while new data and analytics use cases are constantly emerging to address the massive amounts of data that organizations collect. IT must enable an elastic environment where it's easier, faster, more reliable, and more secure to ingest, store, analyze, and share data among a dispersed workforce. 

1. Deploying flexible infrastructure

With benefits including greater flexibility and more predictable operating expenses, cloud-based infrastructure can help you get analytics pipelines up and running fast. And attractive, on-demand pricing makes it easier to scale resources up and down, supporting growing needs. If you're considering moving your organization’s on-premises analytics to the cloud, you can accelerate your migration and time to value by leveraging the resources and expertise of a strategic partner. Hear from Experian who is deploying and scaling its analytics in the cloud and recently benefited from this infrastructure. 

Experian turned to Tableau and AWS for support powering its new Experian Safeguard dashboard, a free analytics tool that helps public organizations use data to pinpoint and protect vulnerable communities. Accessibility and scalability of the dashboard resulted in faster time to market and adoption by nearly 70 local authorities, emergency services, and charities now using “data for good.” 


2. Optimizing costs

According to IDC research, analytics spend in the cloud is growing eight times faster than other deployment types. You’ve probably purchased a data warehouse to meet the highest demand timeframes of the organization, but don’t need the 24/7 support that can result in unused capacity and wasted dollars. Monitor cloud costs and use patterns to make better operating, governance, and risk management decisions around your cloud deployment as it grows, and to protect your investment —especially when leadership is looking for every chance to maximize resources and keep spending streamlined.

Supporting your people

Since IT’s responsibilities are more and more aligned with business objectives—like revenue growth, customer retention, and even developing new business models—it’s critical to measure success beyond deploying modern BI technology. It’s equally important to empower the business to adopt and use analytics to discover opportunities, create efficiencies, and drive change.

3. Onboarding and license management

As your analytics deployment grows, it's not scalable to have individuals submit one-off requests for software licenses that you then have to manually assign, configure, and track. You can take advantage of the groups you’ve already established in your identity and access management solution to automate the licensing process for your analytics program. This can also reduce unused licenses, helping lines of business to save a little extra budget. 

4. Ensuring responsible use

Another big concern as analytics programs grow is maintaining data security and governance in a self-service model. Fortunately, you can address this while streamlining user onboarding even further by automatically configuring user permissions based on their group memberships. Coupled with well-structured analytics content, you’ll not only reduce IT administrative work, but you’ll help people get faster, secure access to trusted data that matters most to their jobs.

5. Enabling access from anywhere

When your organization is increasingly relying on data to make decisions, 24/7 support and access to customized analytics is business-critical. With secure, mobile access to analytics and an at-a-glance view of important KPIs, your users can keep a pulse on their business no matter where they are.

6. Growing data literacy

When everyone in the organization is equipped and encouraged to explore, understand, and communicate with data, you’ll see amazing impact from more informed decision-making. But foundational data skills are necessary to get people engaged and using data and analytics properly. Customers have shown us creative and fun ways that IT helps build data literacy, from formal training to community-building activities. For example, St. Mary’s Bank holds regular Tableau office hours, is investing more time and energy in trainings, and has games that test employees on their Tableau knowledge. 

Want to learn more? 

If you missed AWS re:Invent 2020, you’re not out of luck! You can still register and watch on-demand content, including our own discussion of scaling Tableau Public tenfold to support customers and their growing needs for sharing COVID-19 data (featuring SVP of Product Development, Ellie Fields, and Director of Software Engineering, Jared Scott). You’ll learn about how we reacted to customer demands—especially from governments reporting localized data to keep constituents safe and informed during the pandemic—including shifts from on-premises to the cloud, hosting vizzes that could handle thousands, even millions, of daily hits.

Data-driven transformation is an ongoing journey. Today, the organizations that are successfully navigating uncertainty are those leaning into data and analytics to solve challenges and innovate together. No matter where you are—evaluating, deploying, or scaling—the benefits of the cloud and modern BI are available to you. You can start by learning more about how we partner with AWS.

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