As part of our “They’re Doing Data” feature, Jean-Philippe Nagel, Country Manager at MicroStrategy agreed to take a look back at the past year and the major challenges for the year ahead.
BigData.com: You’ve been in the data business for over 25 years. What’s the most surprising development?
Jean-Philippe Nagel: What amazed me the most was the fact that analytics and decision support are tending to be put in the hands of all the employees of a company. That’s really the major evolution I see. Previously, only people with data skills had access to the associated knowledge. Now, we have realized that the democratization of access to data makes it possible to facilitate and secure decision-making. Although it is still often IT that is in charge of data, it is now put at the service of the business. We look at how to provide them with a relevant answer, which is happening more and more often with the support of predictive analysis.
One word to define the past year?
Covid, of course! We’ve had to learn to live with a high degree of uncertainty. In this changing context, our customers have asked us to have intuitive and flexible tools that help them answer new questions quickly and thus support decision making. It goes without saying that in a changing context, it is essential to trust one’s data and guarantee a “single version of truth”.
Specifically, how do you see the evolution and deployment of predictive analytics? Which sectors will be the most impacted?
Ce have been trying to integrate it for years. At the beginning, this required a very strong expertise, and predictive analysis was only applicable to large structures. Now, it is possible to embed it in business processes. This is particularly true in retail where there is a real desire to have an “augmented consumer”. We analyze sales performance, which we can correlate with different criteria: vacations or weather, for example. This allows us to anticipate logistics flows.
When it comes to predictive or enterprise data management, MicroStrategy offers a coherent, integrated platform that allows for a great deal of autonomy for the end user and evolves with them as they mature.
In particular, to continue the democratization theme, MicroStrategy integrates easily with data science solutions and easily operationalizes the deployment of algorithms to all users. Thus, democratization also extends to AI and ML.
What are the big issues for you right now?
Currently, we have 3 major challenges. The first is the modernization of data access. Today, everyone “does analytics” whether it’s through BI platforms or Excel. Our priority is to make analytics available to all employees, whether they are business users or data scientists. MicroStrategy integrates analytics into business applications and processes for greater accessibility and productivity.
The second issue is the cloud. Today, the cloud logic is taking hold. Some customers only see it as a way to save money, but the cloud allows for greater agility: automatic absorption of activity peaks, new project in “1 click”, prototyping and “fail fast”.
Finally, the third issue concerns the monetization of data. Data / business intelligence is still often perceived as a cost center. It is time to transform it into a profit center. Thanks to an “embedded” logic, we can provide our customers with data that will enable them to optimize their business and generate additional revenue. It is in this context that Optic 2ooo has made available to its franchisees a white label portal providing them with more autonomy and interactivity.
A word for the year to come?
I would say “back to basics.” I think we’re going back to basic needs like streamlining tools, trusting data and agility. These needs are essential to become data driven. Innovation will come from new approaches to democratize access to analysis for all users in their context of use, in their applications.
Interview by Amandine Durand.