Data Literacy

The Analytics Enablement® Platform: A New Category of Enterprise Software

Learn about the history of Analytics Enablement® and how it led Axis Group to create HELIX.


A Brief History of Analytics Enablement®

After decades in the industry of data and analytics, Axis Group deduced that enabling every employee to make effective, data-informed decisions was the ultimate goal. Leveraging our history working with hundreds of large organizations across dozens of industries over the past 25+ years, we came to understand that this requires more than just installing technology, building dashboards, and training users. It requires focus and intent around the discipline of analytics in order to create a holistic analytics ecosystem that is carefully designed, built and maintained to support everyone throughout their analytics journey. However, not every organization has the specific experience and depth of knowledge to build the required ecosystem from the ground up. This conclusion led Axis Group to develop our Analytics Enablement® practice. This program transforms how organizations enable analytics across their enterprises, at scale. We created Analytics Enablement® after watching so many customers struggle to piece together the disparate parts required for a successful, sustainable analytics program.

The organizations we serve learn that it’s not enough to simply make data and tools available. Our most successful customers find that achieving enterprise analytics requires intentionality, organization, governance, education, and processes to not only manage the competing needs of thousands of users but also to handle the volume of changes across all the elements our program delivers.

The business and technical areas of the Axis Group Analytics Enablement® program are pictured below:

AE_wheel_png

Source: Axis Group Transformation and Innovation Lab

The Business Enablement side of the Analytics Enablement® program provides guidance to business users on how to plug into an analytics team’s Center of Excellence with resources such as analytics standards, templates and help. Data consumers and analysts are always up to date on the processes that keep analytics platforms working and reliable. At its core, Business Enablement is a continuous improvement process that helps people understand governance and teaches them to govern themselves without feeling handcuffed by strict rules that prevent them from getting work done. This builds trust between the Business and Technical teams, fosters Data Literacy and improves Analytics Adoption.

The Technical Enablement side of the program provides guidance on how to create a scalable Analytics Center of Excellence that the business can plug into, including best practices around data management, security, data ethics, and communication. In short, Technical Enablement is designed to empower technology professionals to best support their users with a high quality, scalable and consistent analytics framework to encourage and support them to drive the organization’s business strategies with effective analytics.

Analytics Enablement® Takes Off – and a Platform Idea Emerges

As we delivered Analytics Enablement® to our global customer base, demand for an “out-of-the-box" solution emerged. As business teams started exploring how to drive Analytics Enablement® in conjunction with digital transformation efforts, they began asking for a “single pane of glass” through which they could manage all things analytics.

We also noticed that Business Intelligence (BI), Data Science tools and related software platforms were adding low-level knowledge management features. Many of these features are delivered under the umbrella concept of “Self-Service Analytics,” often focused on just one persona. Sadly, “Self Service Analytics” features are often very limited in scope, with limited or no focus on Data Literacy or Analytics Adoption. Neither do they consider the wide range of personas – from Data Engineers and Analytics Developers to Data Stewards and Analytics Leaders or the emerging digital automation persona called a Digital Worker.

As we saw many teams experimenting with data and analytics digital transformations in 2018, we decided to take the Analytics Enablement® framework and set it in code. The result is a unified analytics platform or ecosystem that can be used to access, enable and govern data and analytics at the enterprise level, foster Data Literacy, drive Analytics Adoption, and truly be inclusive for all personas, not merely limited to teams of data experts, ultimately unlocking and enabling Self-Service Analytics. With this new solution from Axis Group, we could help organizations achieve greater agility, resiliency, talent retention and competitive advantage, faster than ever.

From Vision to Reality: The Birth of an Analytics Enablement® Platform and New Software Category

In January 2019, we started to translate the Analytics Enablement® framework into a software design. We soon realized that our framework required a collection of technology and data capabilities that, if taken separately, could be standalone software tools – sparking the follow-on thought that this collection would require a platform approach. As our team iterated on the design, we started to collect customer feedback and pressure-test the concept, which helped us refine the vision while further reinforcing our insights about the processes, technologies and data needed to run Analytics effectively at scale.

Soon our nascent Analytics Enablement® platform became a fully realized product – HELIX. With each new implementation of HELIX, we realized that we were carving out a new software category -- Analytics Enablement® Platform. According to the Harvard Business Review, in order to create a new software category, a product must be: 

  1. A "radical product innovation," combined with
  2. A "breakthrough business model innovation," driven by
  3. A "breakthrough big data about future category demand" encapsulated as a "high functioning flywheel"

On the first point - HELIX solves a problem that enterprise analytics groups have been grappling with since the early days of Business Intelligence, and that is how to successfully drive Analytics at scale in the modern era.

On the second point – HELIX presents, in digital form, a business model innovation, which we call the Analytics Enablement® framework. On the third point – the “breakthrough big data” is the continuing groundswell of interest in the need to foster Data Literacy, drive Analytics Adoption, and thus enable Self-Service Analytics.

With HELIX, we have created a new category of software, while delighting our customers and helping them achieve their goals of Self-Service Analytics and effective, agile, and resilient Analytics at scale.

 HELIX is both a first mover and a category creator. Contact us to explore HELIX in depth.

Download the Axis Group Digital Transformation eBook to see examples of client impacts. 

 

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