We firmly believe that the people closest to the problem are the people best placed to solve the problem, primarily when the problem revolves around data. For too long, only people with an IT or systems skillset addressed data-driven solutions. But the emerging world of data blending and streaming means business users need to be more involved. If we want to democratize data access, we need to change the tools to provide a self-service approach.
Not all problems are complex or require coding, so business users should not use tools designed for a technical audience to create solutions. Business users should solve the next generation of problems with intuitive software that does not require technical skills. With the help of Application Intelligence, non-technical users can connect to systems, blend data, and stream the results to their favorite applications.
Not to say that IT or data scientists are not part of this exciting future; instead, people with an IT or data scientist skillset will not be the only participants.
To ensure accurate data, business users need to be in control of the software. This means having access to the back story of the numbers and being able to answer questions about them. Business users are best placed to do this, but the software needs to be intuitive enough for them to be able to participate in the conversation.
When you blend data from different systems, exciting things happen. Not only are you seeing new insights and new dimensions in your business, but some people are also seeing this blended data for the very first time. This instinctively raises questions about the accuracy of the data, where the numbers have come from, and how they have been calculated. This is particularly relevant, for example, when you are reconciling data from different systems. IT can quickly identify when the numbers from other systems don't match, but IT probably cannot explain why. Did sales enter the correct value when closing the deal in the CRM system, or did finance enter the correct value when raising the invoice? There are probably only two people best placed to answer this reconciliation challenge, and neither of them works in IT.
Business users are nearly always best placed to answer the questions around the numbers; they have the back story. They need the software to be intuitive enough so they can add their voice to the conversation. At the moment, many business users are struggling with this as they cannot interrogate the data to get the answers they need. However, with the increasing trend of blending data, this will become a significantly important skill for business users.
Businesses that can answer the questions around their data with confidence will be the ones that can make the most of the insights that blended data can offer.