Article | October 27, 2020
Data Platforms and frameworks have been constantly evolving. At some point of time; we are excited by Hadoop (well for almost 10 years); followed by Snowflake or as I say Snowflake Blizzard (who managed to launch biggest IPO win historically) and the Google (Google solves problems and serves use cases in a way that few companies can match).
The end of the data warehouse
Once upon a time, life was simple; or at least, the basic approach to Business Intelligence was fairly easy to describe… A process of collecting information from systems, building a repository of consistent data, and bolting on one or more reporting and visualisation tools which presented information to users. Data used to be managed in expensive, slow, inaccessible SQL data warehouses. SQL systems were notorious for their lack of scalability. Their demise is coming from a few technological advances. One of these is the ubiquitous, and growing, Hadoop.
On April 1, 2006, Apache Hadoop was unleashed upon Silicon Valley. Inspired by Google, Hadoop’s primary purpose was to improve the flexibility and scalability of data processing by splitting the process into smaller functions that run on commodity hardware.
Hadoop’s intent was to replace enterprise data warehouses based on SQL. Unfortunately, a technology used by Google may not be the best solution for everyone else. It’s not that others are incompetent: Google solves problems and serves use cases in a way that few companies can match. Google has been running massive-scale applications such as its eponymous search engine, YouTube and the Ads platform. The technologies and infrastructure that make the geographically distributed offerings perform at scale are what make various components of Google Cloud Platform enterprise ready and well-featured. Google has shown leadership in developing innovations that have been made available to the open-source community and are being used extensively by other public cloud vendors and Gartner clients. Examples of these include the Kubernetes container management framework, TensorFlow machine learning platform and the Apache Beam data processing programming model. GCP also uses open-source offerings in its cloud while treating third-party data and analytics providers as first-class citizens on its cloud and providing unified billing for its customers. The examples of the latter include DataStax, Redis Labs, InfluxData, MongoDB, Elastic, Neo4j and Confluent.
Silicon Valley tried to make Hadoop work. The technology was extremely complicated and nearly impossible to use efficiently. Hadoop’s lack of speed was compounded by its focus on unstructured data — you had to be a “flip-flop wearing” data scientist to truly make use of it.
Unstructured datasets are very difficult to query and analyze without deep knowledge of computer science. At one point, Gartner estimated that 70% of Hadoop deployments would not achieve the goal of cost savings and revenue growth, mainly due to insufficient skills and technical integration difficulties. And seventy percent seems like an understatement.
Data storage through the years: from GFS to Snowflake or Snowflake blizzard
Developing in parallel with Hadoop’s journey was that of Marcin Zukowski — co-founder and CEO of Vectorwise. Marcin took the data warehouse in another direction, to the world of advanced vector processing. Despite being almost unheard of among the general public, Snowflake was actually founded back in 2012. Firstly, Snowflake is not a consumer tech firm like Netflix or Uber. It's business-to-business only, which may explain its high valuation – enterprise companies are often seen as a more "stable" investment. In short, Snowflake helps businesses manage data that's stored on the cloud. The firm's motto is "mobilising the world's data", because it allows big companies to make better use of their vast data stores.
Marcin and his teammates rethought the data warehouse by leveraging the elasticity of the public cloud in an unexpected way: separating storage and compute. Their message was this: don’t pay for a data warehouse you don’t need. Only pay for the storage you need, and add capacity as you go. This is considered one of Snowflake’s key innovations: separating storage (where the data is held) from computing (the act of querying). By offering this service before Google, Amazon, and Microsoft had equivalent products of their own, Snowflake was able to attract customers, and build market share in the data warehousing space.
Naming the company after a discredited database concept was very brave. For those of us not in the details of the Snowflake schema, it is a logical arrangement of tables in a multidimensional database such that the entity-relationship diagram resembles a snowflake shape. … When it is completely normalized along all the dimension tables, the resultant structure resembles a snowflake with the fact table in the middle. Needless to say, the “snowflake” schema is as far from Hadoop’s design philosophy as technically possible.
While Silicon Valley was headed toward a dead end, Snowflake captured an entire cloud data market.
Article | October 27, 2020
The world is now heading into the Fourth Industrial Revolution, as Professor Klaus Schwab, Founder and Executive Chairman of the World Economic Forum, described it in 2016. Artificial Intelligence (AI) is a key driver in this revolution and with it, machine learning is critical. But critical to the whole process is the need to process a tremendous amount of data which in turns boosts the demand for computing power exponentially.A study by OpenAI suggested that the computing power required for AI training surged by more than 300,000 times between 2012 and 2018. This represents a doubling of computing power every three months and two weeks; a number that is significantly quicker than Moore’s Law which has traditionally measured the time it takes to double computing power. Conventional methodology is no longer enough for such significant leaps, and we desperately need a different computing architecture to stay ahead in the game.
Article | October 27, 2020
Most businesses do not have contingency or business continuity plans that correlate to the world we see unfold before us—one in which we seem to wake up to an entirely new reality each day. Broad mandates to work at home are now a given. But how do we move beyond this and strategically prepare for—and respond to—business implications resulting from the coronavirus pandemic? Some of our customers are showing us how. These organizations have developed comprehensive, real-time operational intelligence views of their global teams—some in only 24-48 hours—that help them better protect their remote workforces, customers, and business at hand.
Article | October 27, 2020
The financial industry has been going through digital transformation for years. Digital technologies have helped to automate manual and tedious tasks like processing and reporting of historical data to forecasting and financial predictive analytics.
The financial services industry owes its success to data. Data is constantly evolving in the form of market trends, client investment, customer service, campaigns. Data gives a boost to banking strategies. As reported by Accenture in a recent survey, 78 percent of banks have made the shift to using data for operations; however, only seven percent of them have extended to using predictive analytics in finance.
Predictive analytics in finance has had a slow but steady start. It is an area of growing interest for banks and other institutions as new newer technologies launch in the market. To complete your company’s digital transformation, data analytics in finance will make a difference in that process.
To be successful, organizations must have the ability to adapt to changes.
Having predictive analytics on your side, your organization can deal with ever-changing circumstances with less to no difficulty.
Understanding Predictive Analytics: What is it?
Predictive analytics is a process of interpreting data to measure any possible future outcomes. It is carried out with the help of statistical modeling, historical data sets, and machine learning. The collected historical data is fed into an algorithm that recognizes patterns and forecast trends and possible future behavior from days to years in advance.
Analyzing historical data and predicting the future has been an old practice in the finance sector. Banks and financial institutions have been evaluating past events or historical data for a long time now.
Making precise forecasts in trends and analyzing data becomes easier due to predictive analytics.
There is a wider scope to predictive efforts with more speed and accuracy and apply them throughout strategic and tactical business practice areas.
Predictive Analytics in the Financial Sector: What are the Benefits?
Many organizations are ready to accept the positive applications of predictive analytics but remain skeptical about the return on investment.
It is worth understanding the potential of predictive analytics to any business big or small. It doesn’t matter if you are not in the banking sector to benefit from taking a peek into the future of financial performance.
Any finance and accounting department can take advantage of advanced predictive analytics for the following reasons:
The technology keeps a regular track of the consistency between expectations and reality to warn you about possible gaps.
Analytics accurately helps you identify any possible threats to your business and warns you.
Enhanced User Experience
Predictive analytics guides you to recognize the strengths of your business and lets you know how to maximize customer satisfaction.
Analyzed Decision Making
You can understand your customers better with predictive analytics. With this information, you can correctly match your customers with the product in a better way.
Importance of Predictive Analytics
Most successful banking and financial institutions depend on predictive analytics because it simplifies and integrates data to increase profits for companies. Predictive analytics can improve different finance processes.
But the importance of analytics goes beyond just banking services and actually goes into a better quality of customer service. Better customer service is only possible because of the advanced technology that shares customer feedback and preferences throughout the organization, in turn giving relevant information to every employee to make necessary product enhancements.
To understand the importance of predictive analytics, below are some of its use cases:
Predictive analytics in financial institutions and banking give you a complete profile of your customer base. It is impossible to contact every customer and interview them about their likes, needs and wants. This is where big data analytics in finance comes into play. It gives you the whole information about your customers regardless of the services they subscribe.
Customers usually don’t have the same needs throughout their lives. As they grow older and have families, their financial needs change accordingly. For instance, a young person considering getting married will always try and save monetarily to buy a house, life insurance, college funds, whereas an older couple will save that money for their retirement.
Apart from enabling different financial services, predictive analytics empowers you to serve individual customers with ease. Let’s take an example. When a customer applies for a loan, predictive financial services can help you analyze if the customer can repay the loan.
Predictive analytics also helps offer alternative services like secured loans to customers who may not qualify for the originally applied services.
Online Banking Made Better
Consumer interest fluctuates in spikes. Predictive analytics informs managers enough in advance so they can set up online infrastructures in those areas. Predictive analytics has made it easier to identify a possible customer base. For example, it can provide metrics to the marketing teams. In turn, the marketing teams can target the customers with ads for probable mortgage loans or business loans in hopes of converting them into their customers.
Data analytics in finance also helps in preventing and detecting fraud and abuse. Although detecting fraud doesn’t necessarily fall under predictive analytics, it can inform the IT department about potential scammers and which online services must be protected.
Foreseeing Market Variations
Predictive analytics can predict market variations and changes. By combining internal and external data, your organization can predict revenue growth in particular market sectors.
For nascent or growing companies, predicting market changes is an important ability. Profitable companies should also be reviewed through predictive analytics to generate demand projections owing to the uncertainties caused by the Covid-19 pandemic. Your return on investment can grow or reduce even with the minutest changes to the growth plans that would seriously impact investor confidence in the future.
Predictive analytics also help to establish which marketing campaigns are working and which strategies need to change.
Predictive Analytics and the Future: What Next?
Technological improvements have allowed predictive analytics in finance to improve and change constantly. Any organization can use customized data solutions to meet your customers’ needs and reach new ones efficiently. Your organization can use predictive analytics to move your business and products ahead and understand how the market will thrive, giving you the much needed heads up you would need to change your strategies and tactics.
Frequently Asked Questions
Is predictive analytics is the future of finance?
Predictive analytics is called the ‘future of financial software,’ which means it can provide accurate planning and cost-effectiveness.
How can analytics be used in finance?
Analytics helps in predicting revenue, improve supply chains, identify trouble spots, understand where the company is bleeding money, and fraud detection.
How do predictive analytics benefit financial institutions?
Predictive analytics can help financial institutions and customers detect fraud, financial management, predicting markets, improving products, better user experience, etc.
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