Technologies & Products

Data is dead, long live analytics!

In the last week a new company in our office block has opened offering state-of-the-art spinning/cycling. Digital Transformation of the fitness industry means these classes now has live stats on massive screens, with virtual riders places on a stage of the Tour de France.
All of these gadgets produce data, and we have all been collecting data for quite a while now, maybe without knowing to what extent. The scope of data collection has not changed, well OK, more ‘things’ now record it, but the actual data is the same. You might argue the devices now recording data is the difference to 10 years ago. I don’t call that a revolution – just scope creep. We simply have a lot more of it.

In my opinion it is the world of tools and visualisations which has expanded massively over the last few years. Whether it is Strava, Google’s own Analytics, or some of the open source D3 engines, the results are sometimes astounding and occasionally interesting, but always informative. They are informative because what they all have in common is freedom. Freedom to access our data in ways which would otherwise be impossible.

Information is data given purpose.

Our data is now information – it is more than the sum of its parts. It has been analysed, rotated, and contextualised so it now goes beyond to tell me where I could have pushed on the pace to 5:30m/km, where my hill tempo was too high, how I compared against everyone else this year. I’m not particularly motivated by competition, but if I know I got a particular course record then its encouragement that I must be doing something right. Strava’s analytics have gone beyond showing me only lap times, 400 metre sprints and fastest 10km. I can view more abstract concepts such as effort, cadence, route heatmaps which overlay my countryside trot with the other loonies who think 4 hours running through the Chilterns is a good idea. It shows me new routes, new hills I hadn’t realized had footpaths up them.

So what do you do with all the data collected in and from your IT systems. The message recently has been about Big Data, but I think that we’ve moved on. Big Data always emphasised the ‘data’, rarely the value-add. Everyone collects data these days, it is what you do with it that matters more. Take your development team. Do you know how long tasks or changes take to get through to Production? Where are your hidden factories, cycles of rework?

In an Agile framework the stage so often missed is the Track & Monitor phase. Why? Because the change has gone live and you’ve moved on. “What’s next!?”

What if you could automatically record all those other stages as input; analyze your team’s efforts and see where sprints could be improved. Continuous Improvement.

Working smarter will liberate greater results than working harder.

Critically, I see all this information and make my own decisions. There is no spin, no slant, no arguing with the truth of it all.

So an organisation could be looking at putting in Agile practices because they need to be able to catch up with the massive digital changes in their sector. They want to be able to deliver changes rapidly and effectively. The developers will have to be on top form.

Wouldn’t it be great if analytics could be applied to SAP changes so that it was visible why, every single time, the testing cycle was delayed – perhaps because the effort of rework always came in at the same time, every sprint. Next sprint, adjust the personnel balance, tweak the timelines. Get it working better – build a better ramp.

Keep an eye on our DevOps tools for SAP. We’ve already released Consolidator for merging your ECC systems, and ActiveControl has been capturing those valuable data points for years.

But soon, DevAnalytics – our new tool to give you a deep insight into SAP development and change processes to reveal areas where costs can be saved and value can be added – will revolutionise the way you run!

If you’re interested in finding out more about what DevAnalytics can offer contact one of our SAP experts.

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