5 Burning Questions Answered

Five hot Q&As from Alter.Next 2022.

Technology   |   Alteryx   |   Mar 21, 2022

Alter.Next 2022 is over, but the learning (and fun) doesn’t have to stop. Hear from leaders in data and analytics with a recap of some of the best Q&As covered during the event.


AYX: What’s the danger of data and analytics? What bad can data and analytics lead to, even when we have good intentions?

Professor Yuval Noah Harari, historian, philosopher, and bestselling author: A very big danger is data colonialism. To conquer a country, you don’t need to send soldiers. You just need to take the data out. Imagine a situation when the data of a large part of the world is harvested and sent to an imperial center, where it is used to create sophisticated technology, AI, algorithms, and smart machines, which are then sold back to the colonies.

We’re seeing this situation developing now rapidly and these scenarios are quite frightening in the potential that they have. It’s not inevitable. It depends on the decisions that people, engineers, technicians, and entrepreneurs take.


AYX: There are a lot of big trends that organizations need to react to. Where do you see organizations focusing given all this change?

Dan Vesset, Group VP of Analytics and Information Management at IDC: There are different issues across industries, but one overarching theme that we continue to hear about is the desire for more agility. It’s really decision-making agility that is the primary focus in today’s volatile world. Everybody wants to be able to make decisions faster and make decisions based on data and analytics.

AYX: What can organizations do to progress along their analytics journeys?

Dan Vesset, Group VP of Analytics and Information Management at IDC: The key part is to start thinking about analytics as a process, especially a collaborative one with multiple players coming together. How do you think about the hand-offs from the data scientists to the business analysts or to the line of business employees? How can you ensure that everything in a workflow that can be automated is automated, so that everybody is freed from mundane tasks to really apply their human creativity?


AYX: What are some lessons learned/tips on putting self-service analytics to work?

David Sogn, VP, Global Practice Head of Data Science & Analytics at HCL Technologies: Identify the use cases that are of the highest priority and don’t worry so much about data cleanliness and quality and making sure the data is absolutely pristine. There’s a lot of iteration and insights that can be generated still while the large majority of the data set is still being modernized or cleansed. I want to suggest more experimentation and a focus on the real results.


AYX: How does ABB use analytics to measure results and improve those results?

Michael Peet, VP of FP&A at ABB: We focus a lot on key metrics — drivers such as revenue, profits, cost, and price.Using analytics allows us to really deep dive across customers, geographies, and channels to identify potential improvements that support those key drivers. In addition to that, it also allows us to make these decisions on particular product groups, lines, and so on, to further improve, build action plans, and continuously develop our business to be a stronger organization going forward.


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