How Business is Benefiting from the Democratization of Analytics

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Rapid technological innovation and a willingness to share software have resulted in more individuals and companies being able to analyze data, says Damo Consulting CEO Paddy Padmanabhan.

His firm, which recently issued a white paper titled The Democratization of Analytics, provides analytics, digital and global sourcing advisory services to the healthcare sector.

The Damo Consulting white paper points to the increased availability of complex analytical tools which allow businesses to collect and process information. It also poses the question – are we all turning into data scientists?

The availability of increased certain data is a development that would have been unthinkable a few years ago - either because of the prohibitive costs of computing capacity, or the lack of access to advanced analytics tools. That’s no longer a problem today though, thanks to falling costs of hardware and software, and also open source tools such as R and Python.

Cloud services available on Amazon, Google and Microsoft have also made it simpler to access complex analytical tools on cheap computing capacity – in many cases, a feat which would have been deemed impossible just a few years ago.

Meanwhile, learning tools available via YouTube videos and Massive Online Open Courses (MOOC) provide users with step-by-step knowledge to utilize the software in the first place.

Padmanabhan said: “Advanced analytics and machine learning have shifted from CIOs and specialized units and are becoming pervasive across businesses. The envelope will get pushed even further in the coming year and advanced analytics capabilities will be available to users at a fraction of today’s costs.”

He went on to say that he believed the whole analytics democratization process was driven by four main factors. These were:

  • companies placing an increased importance on analysis for general business growth
  • reduction in costs for data storage and processing
  • more emphasis and results in software innovation
  • a lack of data scientists (individuals capable of making sense of data)

Larry Boyer, co-author of the white paper, also referred to the ‘openness’ of larger research companies and academic institutions to share data. The Mayo Clinic, for instance, today makes algorithms available for health enterprises with the result that it can lead to better health outcomes for patients.

He added: “In many ways the evolution of data technology is turning us all into scientists. Wearable technologies provide us with an immediate look at our health habits and monitoring of trends, allowing us to make decisions and course corrections the right way. The technology is practically effortless. The same is true for businesses and government agencies. It is far easier to examine work processes and identify and fix problems early.”

“Meanwhile, the white paper points to privacy considerations concerning the use of data, particularly in relation to the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) regulations. It also throws a word of caution to companies relying too much on analytical tools, insisting that they will continue to need expert individuals skilled in interpreting and applying the analysis.

More observations on the advancement and wider availability of Big Data, particularly in relation to healthcare, can be found in The Democratization of Analytics - are we all turning into data scientists? This is available to download free on the company website

Note to editors

Damo Consulting Inc is an advanced analytics, digital solutions and global sourcing advisory firm focused on the healthcare sector. They assist large healthcare companies and technology firms with big data advanced analytics strategies, digital health transformation and global sourcing.

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