Courage in cloud is crucial as analytics become fundamental for business success

Today’s business environment is harsh. Customers demand instantaneous responsivity and hyper-personalization … or they’ll go find a company that provides it.

On the surface, the key to meeting these demands is to go digital. But dig just a little deeper, and you’ll find that the true indicator of a successful company is the quality and accessibility of its data. An average of 47% of data records have at least one critical error that impacts business operations. This causes company losses in the millions each year; losses that are directly attributable to poor data management.

Yet despite years of evidence, companies are still throwing good money after bad through outdated data strategies, according to Shelly Thackston, senior specialist, Gartner Inc. To leverage data effectively, companies must “tackle the cultural, structural and procedural barriers that cause many organizations to fail,” she said.

Simple advice. Yet one that many leaders are reluctant to take.

“I see a fork in leadership when it comes to courage,” said Sudheesh Nair, (pictured) chief executive officer of ThoughtSpot Inc. “There are people with the spine, and there are people without the spine. And the ones with the spine are killing it. They are unafraid.”

Nair spoke with John Furrier, host of theCUBE, SiliconANGLE Media’s livestreaming studio, during the AWS Startup Showcase: New Breakthroughs in DevOps, Analytics, and Cloud Management Tools event. They discussed the future of data analytics and why the traditional embedded model is obsolete. (* Disclosure below.)

Modern data scale requires a modern approach to data analysis

Data volume is way beyond the capability of human oversight, which means businesses need search capabilities designed to handle the speed, scale and complexity of modern data. Add machine learning and artificial intelligence, and data can be curated before it is seen by human eyes.

“You cannot take your stack that was built in the 1990s and say, ‘Now we can do search,'” Nair stated. “The stack has to be fundamentally rebuilt for cloud. That’s what ThoughtSpot is doing.”

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The difference between ThoughtSpot’s approach and traditional data analytics is that the company has abandoned the embedded model, Nair explained. Instead, ThoughtSpot’s modern analytics cloud allows customers to build interactive, intelligent “data apps” with search-driven analytics capabilities.

“We are the front end to bring all of this data and make sense of it. You can sit on top of any cloud data and then interact with it, from a complete sort of freedom without compromising on security, compliance or relevance,” Nair stated.

ThoughtSpot scales cloud data benefits by building on Redshift and Snowflake

Data apps bring a new level of interactivity to data analysis, something Nair explains through the analogy of a consumer searching online for a restaurant.

“If I’m hungry and I want to find a restaurant and it says, ‘Go to this burrito place’ … it’s not good enough,” Nair said.

Instead of “Go to X restaurant,” the user wants to see all the options and make a personal decision based on numerous factors, such as type of food, cost, proximity if friends have eaten there, and photos of the menu items and dining room. This seems basic to a modern consumer, but it’s not how search works in most business applications.

“In business, people are still sitting with this, ‘I’m hungry. I’ve got to eat a burrito.’ That’s not how it should be,” Nair said. “In the new world, a business user should have the freedom to add exactly what the customer is looking for and solve that problem without delay.”

The “real magic” in data apps, and where the business value comes to play, is the ability to interact beyond the basic question of “What?” and extend into “So what?” “What if?” and “What next?” Nair explained. This ability to “start with an intent, end with an action” is made possible by building on top of agile cloud data warehouses such as Snowflake Inc.’s Data Cloud or Amazon Web Services Inc.’s Redshift.

Cloud data analytics frees analysts to focus on creating business value

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This interactivity and ability to iterate questions and build on context without human interaction frees data analysts from the responsibility of ensuring data is securely delivered and making incremental chart and dashboard updates. This means they can focus on tasks that bring immediate value to the business and improve its competitive edge.

“Data is eating everything, including software. If you don’t have a way to turn data into bespoke action for your customers, guess what? Your customers are going to go somewhere where that’s happening. You may not be in the data business but a data company is going to take your business,” Nair said.

He furthered: “This is why cloud is not a choice for you. It’s not an option for you. It is the only way. And if you fail to take that way, the other way is taking you off a cliff.”

Watch the complete video interview below, and be sure to check out more of SiliconANGLE’s and theCUBE’s coverage of the AWS Startup Showcase: New Breakthroughs in DevOps, Analytics, and Cloud Management Tools event. (* Disclosure: ThoughtSpot Inc. sponsored this segment of theCUBE. Neither ThoughtSpot nor other sponsors have editorial control over content on theCUBE or SiliconANGLE.)

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