In April 2015, InsightaaS teamed with stakeholders from across the cloud community – enterprise and SMB IT management, global IT leaders and Canadian cloud service providers, integrators and consultants, academics, associations, training firms and other experts – to launch the Toronto Cloud Business Coalition. Dedicated to accelerating adoption and use of cloud in Canada, TCBC members formed working groups to identify key business issues and best practices addressing the ten most important cloud challenges.
After six months of discussion and review, TCBC’s working groups have begun publishing unique documents that provide essential guidance for senior C-suite executives, IT leaders, cloud practitioners and supply-side management. At the same time, TCBC is accelerating its ‘education and networking’ agenda by convening a series of events designed to stimulate discussion of best practices positions and requirements. The signature event on TCBC’s 2015 calendar was the inaugural Cloud Symposium, a ‘show within a show’ as part of DatacenterDynamics Converged Canada 2015 presentation. The event was a tremendous success, with more than 500 attendees and over 40 exhibitors. InsightaaS principals Mary Allen and Michael O’Neil moderated nine sessions at the event: the opening and closing plenaries, an entire track dedicated to working group topics, and sessions on IoT and analytics which combined expert panel perspectives with current InsightaaS research.
KeY issue and observations:
The keY issue: Recent InsightaaS research shows that analytics can and does unlock positive business outcomes, including reduced cost (via improved processes and productivity) and increased revenue. However, only 30% of Canadian businesses today are using analytics and Big Data, and most of these are still at an early point in adoption: the vast majority of all but the most advanced corporate users of analytics are focused on descriptive or diagnostic applications, rather than predictive or prescriptive analytics. How can businesses adopt higher-impact analytics usage models?
Jerry Gaertner, management of enterprise data analytics programme, University of Toronto: Analytics should be transformative for the organization. Its benefit becomes clear when the business is able to define “the right question” to help guide business improvement – and then to deliver meaningful answers that have short and medium term benefit, so that transformation results directly from prescriptive use of analytics.
Chris Dingle, director, customer intelligence, Rogers: The key to successfully accelerating analytics is to deliver rapid and clear demonstrations of benefit. It’s important to define and solve a specific business problem, and to show how business value is achieved by using analytics as the basis of the solution. Analytics is a “team sport” – it requires involvement from across the business. As business unit leaders understand the connection between data and their objectives, they see how and why analytics has an important role in their business processes.
Dean McKeown, associate director, Master of Management Analytics program, Queen’s University: Successful analytics initiatives rely on professionals who combine multiple essential skills: technology understanding, a capacity for statistical analysis, and deep understanding of the business and its processes. Successful analytics initiatives also rely to a great extent on trust: staff members need to work together to identify the key issues involved in a decision, to work through the analysis of the data and its implications, and to develop and execute on an action plan
that translates insight into benefit.
The bottom line
The advanced cloud application adoption and enablement session, and the other Cloud Symposium panel discussions and the accompanying best practices guidance represent a new standard in IT research delivery. With the community approach to content co-creation and an emphasis on networking and outreach, TCBC and InsightaaS have created a model that delivers real value to stakeholders from all industries, and is designed to provide real support to end user adopters – which aligns with TCBC's overall objective of accelerating adoption and use of cloud in Canada.