May 15, 2010

Stakeholder-facing analytics

There’s a point I keep making in speeches, and used to keep making in white papers, yet have almost never spelled out in this blog. Let me now (somewhat) correct the oversight.

Analytic technology isn’t only for you. It’s also for your customers, citizens, and other stakeholders.

I am not referring here to what is well understood to be an important, fast-growing activity — providing data and its analysis to customers as your primary or only business — nor to the related business of taking people’s data, crunching it for them, and giving them results. That combined sector — which I am pretty alone in aggregating into one and calling data mart outsourcing — is one of the top several vertical markets for a lot of the analytic DBMS vendors I write about. Rather, I’m talking about enterprises that gather data for some primary purpose, and have discovered that a good secondary use of the data is to reflect it back to stakeholders, often the same ones who provided or created it in the first place.

For now I’ll call this category stakeholder-facing analytics, as the shorter phrase “stakeholder analytics” would be ambiguous.* I first picked up the idea early this decade from Information Builders, for whom it had become something of a specialty. I’ve been asking analytics vendors for examples of stakeholder-facing analytics ever since, and a number have been able to comply. But the whole thing is in its early days even so; almost any sufficiently large enterprise should be more active in stakeholder-facing analytics than it currently is.

*Comments as to what the category should be called are welcome below.

Examples of stakeholder-facing analytics include:

So what cool examples do you have of stakeholder-facing analytics?*

*Yes, this is an invitation to drop links to case studies into the comment thread below.


4 Responses to “Stakeholder-facing analytics”

  1. Dan Graham on May 15th, 2010 1:05 pm

    If I understand your definition correctly, delivering data to the front line stakeholders is what we at Teradata call Active Data Warehousing. Your definition appears to draw a line between internal users and external non-employee users. Delivering analytic information to consumers and business partners has been going on for quite a while. Let me give examples:
    — a major bank delivers analytics on checking accounts online to customers via the EDW. Consumers can see how they spend their money in various categories, with trends over time, similar to PC desktop banking tools.
    — HR departments who have purchased disability insurance get aggregated reports on claims employees made. The insurer shares the claims data used by actuarials. In this case, two external stakeholders get data — the claimant and the HR Dept.
    — Portals are used for track and trace. Shippers and receivers of railroad cars full of goods can run reports directly against the data warehouse to find every box car, location, ETA, and so on. They usually do a lot of forecasting and cost leveling with these reports. So two external stakeholders get access to the data previously used only for analyzing freight prices, fuel costs, routes, etc. The reports are extensive, customizable, and yes can be downloaded into Excel for further analysis.
    — Its fairly common for external sales agents, brokers, and franchisees to get analytics delivered to their laptop from the data warehouse. The “corporation” owning the data always has some debates over what is offered in canned reports. But allowing for downloads of data from a portal allows local customization in addition to reporting.

    We have about 50+ examples of this at Teradata. Many of our Active Data Warehouses feed external stakeholders and quite a few do not.

    Hope I understood correctly.
    Hope this helps.

  2. Curt Monash on May 15th, 2010 10:32 pm


    Those are all good examples of what I had in mind for stakeholder-facing analytics.

    But don’t you also use the term “Active Data Warehousing” for more conventional customer-facing applications, such as website personalization? I was trying to separate those use cases out.


  3. Dan Graham on May 17th, 2010 10:18 am

    You are correct. Active Data Warehouses encompass any use of fresh data loading, BAM/CEP style alerts, and 1 second query SLAs. Those 1 second queries are often used with eCommerce web sites and call centers as you pointed out.

    The examples given relate to “giving back to the stakeholders” in keeping with the spirit of your blog. Many Active Data Warehouse applications only provide benefits to the corporation, not the stakeholder. The examples given serve both the stakeholder and corporation from a single DW. Perhaps I misunderstood stakeholder, but close enough.
    Dan Graham

  4. jeff on June 24th, 2010 12:15 pm

    Curt, you are on to something big here.

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