Is AI the key to liberate our data?

Does Oscar AP Herald the Democratisation of Data in Business Analytics?

George Frangou, the executive chairman and founder of Massive Analytic (a start-up which specialises in innovative and precognitive enterprise analytics) recentlycontested the place of larger competitors - big data vendors like SAP, Oracle and HP – arguing that ”when it comes to making the most of big data and analytics” they “just don’t get it”.

Frangou, whose artificial precognition platform Oscar AP has been dubbed “ground-breaking”, feels that big data vendors are missing the point when it comes to analytics; more focused on introducing customers to their ecosystems than they are on delivering on an analytics front.

Caught Napping

“All the big players have been caught napping by recent developments in analytics”.  Clive Longbottom, service director at Quocirca

At its heart, the contention is that many SaaS providers are still in the primary stages of adopting big data, data mining and analytics technologies, doing little with outside data, and even less with what they collect internally. Despite “incredible potential” for harnessing this data, the bigger vendors are lagging a little.

Cloud Based

Cloud based analytics are rapidly becoming the answer for most organisations – although the cost of processing is often high and prohibitive.  The arrival of cloud vendors and platforms like Birst, Pentaho, QLikTech, Logi and Tableau means cloud based analytics programs are consistently growing in number and the business of analytics has definitely become much more flexible.

Certainly, Oscar AP’s availability for deployment on a single tenant private cloud would suggest that Frangou sees the future of analytics as fundamentally cloud based. With 76% of cloud users citing speed to deploy as a huge benefit for cloud based business analytics, and simplified mobile access making it easier for employees to access these insights on the go, you can see why.

Even the big vendors seem to recognise this growing need for cloud based analytics – Oracle announced their new cloud based platform Analytics Cloud, IBM have Watson Analytics and SAP (teaming up with Birst) have Hana.

Transcending Current Applications

The standout facet of the Massive Analytic platform is its capacity for precognitive analytics – it is “the first business analytics platform to incorporate artificial intelligence alongside big data access”. In removing dependence on human expertise, business users are able to find hidden insights without taking time from their data scientists. In short, “Oscar AP’s functionality transcends current analytics applications”. This may explain why Frangou is, in his own words:

“Quite unashamedly following a displacement strategy to displace the incumbents because they’re not getting it.”

Utilising this AI means that Oscar AP’s insight capabilities go beyond limitations of internal corporate data and allows any user to “join datasets and extract the key insights in one click”. Even the least technical of business users can now reap the benefits of this “self-service analytics”.

Accommodating

Frangou’s platform understands both structured and unstructured data, and can “accommodate users of all levels and backgrounds”. With a code free interface and one-click machine learning making big data accessible even for non-technical business users, data driven decisions are now accessible to all – meaning insights can be made into the decision cycles across an entire business.

Frangou asserts that rather than developing innovative ways to allow their customers to access future outcomes and improve their capacity for insightful decision making, the main drive of bigger vendors is to sell kit. He argues that SAP Hana, Oracle Exalytics and HP Haven are all built “on the same base code”, and the algorithms “don’t scale up”.  Frangou maintains that the reason corporations elect to utilise the same suppliers when it comes to analytical tools, is more to do with wanting to integrate with their existing ecosystem, than understanding the value a particular analytics tool may hold for their enterprise.

But is this true?

Forrester Evaluation

Often, using an analytics platform because your existing ecosystem is built around a specific vendor works out more costly – you need to purchase the kit and then integrate it. There must be more to the services these suppliers provide than Frangou suggests.

The Forrester evaluation of general purpose big data predictive analytics solutions found that IBM, SAS and SAP were top market leaders when it comes to developing mature products, with unmatched breadth and depth in their solutions.

IBM was reportedly one of the most impressive, offering options for organisations no matter how they want to get started with analytics. It offers the capacity to deploy solutions both on-premises and in the cloud.

Similarly, “SAS continues to be an analytics powerhouse”. Offering almost every feature a data scientist or business user could ever want, SAS provides the means to meet the needs of all of their evolving users and SAS solutions are integrated with Open Source R, Python and Hadoop.

The report continues: “SAP’s relentless investment in analytics pays off” in their provision of tools for business users and data scientists who use SAP Hana behind the scenes. SAP Hana customers can then leverage SAP’s PAL (Predictive Analysis Library) to analyse big data.

Undeniably, the advent of Oscar AP is exciting, and the prospect of “tailored, optimised analytical workflows and algorithms” becoming accessible to business owners lacking the technical know-how of data scientists suggests that Massive Analytic may be one of the first to welcome this new approach to business analytics.