Data is spinning organizational and global decisions

Oliver Schabenberger, SAS Chief Technology Officer and Chief Operating Officer

It is all evident that the world today is being driven by data generated by digital processes, systems, gadgets and sensors prompting organizations to fast adopt to advanced analytics of data asserted SAS Chief Technology Officer and Chief Operating Officer Oliver Schabenberger during an Analytics Experience 2018 conference in Milan.

According to Schabenberger, we are living in an age of data fed by the internet of things, a huge space with copious amounts of data being produced per minute, and the world’s data volume doubles every two years.

As digitization continues, organizations now have incredibly rich sources of information coming through the internet, mobile devices, servers and much more. Most organizations have the power to use this data to convert yesterday’s challenges into today’s and tomorrow’s innovations- and this can only be done through making sense of the data.

The goal is not in how the data is collected or stored, but how it is analyzed to extract information and act on insights businesses can use to make decisions, and not just what is going on with customers but why stressed Schabenberger.

“Data without analytics is value not realized so just by collecting data we don’t generate any value it’s the insight that you bring into it,” said Schabenberger.


Analytics Market

The company that recently ventured into the Kenya and wider East African market through a strategic partnership with Redington Value realized that there is a growing analytics market in the region. Sayantan Dev, Redington Gulf vice president – VCG, said organizations in the East African market are becoming more familiar with advanced analytics, Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning among other recent technologies.

Schabenberger said SAS globally holds 30.8 percent of the advanced and predictive analytics market stressing the reasons as guided more with Research & Development and on its partner ecosystem, such as the one with Redington, and the fact that they tailor their solutions to meet the business needs.

“Our approach is more than selling a concept but to detailing how a particular product will solve the specific business problem at hand,” explains Mr. Schabenberger.

Africa, a growth market

For the company, Africa has become a good growth market as more and more opportunities arise. Nick Lisi, Executive Vice President, SAS Global Sales says the company is seeing a strong embracing of data in the continent and says Africa will continue to be a strong focus for the organization.

“We see Africa as a prime region for analytics because it’s so data driven – and for us it’s a growth opportunity. In addition Africa is also an important area for us because of the partner ecosystem we have there,” says Mr. Lisi.

The company is entering the East African market when other providers such as Microsoft and SAP have a strong hold in the region with regards to business intelligence services. However, Mr. Lisi does not see this as a major challenge in penetrating the market as he says data science has been what the company has been doing from the onset and is essentially their core business.

Data Solutions

“Our legacy and our heritage are not just visualization of data, but true predictive analysis and our biggest differentiator is our experience and knowledge of how customers can manage a complete analytics environment and workflow rather than just tools to fix point data solutions problems. One of the biggest propositions is to leverage the power our platform has provided over the years and how customers can embrace and include all the platforms to make most use of their investment,” says Mr. Lisi.

It is a general consensus amongst the executives at SAS that no organization can afford ignore data and analytics function as a key contributor to the development and execution of the business strategy.

During the two day conference, SAS released research entitled: Here and Now: The need for an analytics platform‘,  where three-quarters of organizations (72 percent) claim that analytics helps them generate valuable insight and 60 percent say their analytics resources have made them more innovative.

Business growth

“The more analytics you can bring and the more offerings you can create for your clients this also helps them have access to information they may not have had access to – if a business can get smarter about profiling the individual consumer then you can definitely provide more services that enable the consumer to be better off and this is something we believe we can offer,” adds Mr. Lisi.

As organizations begin to understand what advanced analytics and artificial intelligence can achieve for business growth, a lot of groundwork need to be done within the East African market. There needs to be capacity development especially around artificial intelligence and begin to predictively use the available data to make cognitive decisions.

There still exists a lack of alignment between the skills and leadership needed to maximise the potential of investments in analytics (both software and people) as many companies struggle to manage multiple analytics tools with data management processes. The released by SAS shows that 32% of respondents admitted to being overwhelmed by data while 50% of said that poor data quality is a major obstacle to delivering actionable insight as a major challenge.

The strategic partnership with Redington Value will also look into undertaking skills development right from university level to prepare more and more human resource to effectively interpret data.


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