As big data analytics and the associated processes involved continue to change and advance, new questions emerge pertaining to businesses’ information. Now that access to new software tools has enabled companies to answer their basic big data queries, these organizations are turning to experts to address the explosion of questions that follow. After all, big data opens the door to a nearly endless number of insights, particularly as enterprises begin to work with analysts to dig even deeper into the multiple sources that hold their most important information.

This is what Phillip Whelan, Aunalytics’ Director of Digital Analytics, has found during his career. Not only is Aunalytics adjusting its approaches and innovations based on new findings and information, clients are also seeking to answer increasingly complicated and involved questions about their big data.

Asking the bigger questions: What’s next?

Phillip Whelan, Director of Digital Analytics

Phillip Whelan, Aunalytics’ Director of Digital Analytics, recently sat down to discuss the changing analytics industry and what is required for success.

When big data and analytics processes first emerged, there were a number of main queries that would come to mind for business leaders depending on the unique needs of their organization and the industry they operate within. In the past, many companies required expert assistance to address these, but times have since changed.

“There is a huge amount of data that people have access to now, and a lot of the first-order questions have been answered or are very easily answered,” Whelan said.

This, however, doesn’t mean that big data analytics has passed its prime. In fact, this only provides additional opportunities to seek more advanced insights from available information.

“Now, we can start asking new questions which are a little bit more interesting,” Whelan noted.

As Aunalytics’ Director of Digital Analytics, this is Whelan’s specialty. As businesses’ online presence and digital capabilities become increasingly critical, many of the more advanced questions enterprise leaders are asking revolve around this arena.

“Lately, we’ve been doing a lot of things with websites and clickstream data and digital advertisements,” Whelan explained. “Now we can ask, ‘Are there patterns in repeat visits that will help us to target more valuable customers, or the people that will stay with us over time? Which product research actions connect with higher sales? For which products in which locations? Did the increase in media spend improve outcomes enough to justify expense?’ Now we can ask more complex questions, and addressing these is more of an interest in every industry, and I find that very satisfying.”

The right tools require the right talent

Oftentimes, when business clients turn to experts like Whelan and the Aunalytics team, the client has tested out a tool on their own, but saw less than stellar results. Whelan explained that a big data analysis project not only requires access to the right software, but talented and experienced individuals to utilize that asset as well. However, it’s easier said than done to select the right analysis tool and to find someone with the right skills to use it with the most success.

“Something that we’ve seen with a few of our competitors is that they are very good at certain things – they can come in and get a Hadoop instance set up that will knock your socks off. And that’s great,” Whelan noted. “But if you don’t have someone capable of administering that, and who knows how to do the analysis and can really steer the ship, that setup is not very helpful.”

Aunalytics, on the other hand, takes a more holistic approach, and seeks to complement customers’ assets and processes while filling any necessary gaps. In this way, Whelan and his team can help clients choose the right technology while also providing the best experience and skill set to leverage the tool.

“It’s easier said than done to select the right analysis tool and to find someone with the right skills to use it.”

“We are paired with Data Realty and we work hard to offer what we call Infrastructure to Insights,” Whelan said. “Someone can set up a great cluster for you, but there’s still a ton of other work to do and that can kind of leave you hung out to dry. We really work hard with you to make sure that everything in that stack is serviced and we’ve made our technology and our processes very modular.”

Specialization and a helpful company culture

Since being founded in 2012, Aunalytics has seen growing diversity with its client base, helping Whelan and his team gain experience with multiple different kinds of customer problems. Where in the past, Aunalytics relied more heavily on the client to glean insight about the types of issues they were dealing with and the questions they were looking to answer, Whelan and his team are now able to better identify business challenges and the best solutions to address them.

Much of this has to do with the strong specialization within Aunalytics’ employee base, as well as a company-wide interest in helping one another.

“We’re careful with our hiring so that if there is a request that might be a little outside of someone’s wheelhouse, they’re still able to contribute – and contribute well,” Whelan explained. “Because of that, we still have a culture – and I’m very proud of this – where everyone likes to jump in and help out if it makes sense to.”

In this way, Aunalytics clients not only have access to the best technology tools, but an experienced staff of experts to help them glean the best insights possible from their data.

To find out more about Whelan and the work he does at Aunalytics, contact us today.