How an organization can become data-driven one step at a time
More and more companies and organizations are making strategic choices based on data instead of gut feeling. Lex Crielaars, CTO of data specialist SMT, is positive about that. However, he also sees that there are still challenges.
“I notice that most companies want to be data-driven organizations, but often they just don’t know how to start,” Crielaars says. “In many companies, decisions are still being made based on how it is always done. Change is always difficult. It requires a different approach at all levels: the technology, the process, but also on the human side. ”
With a real-life example, he illustrates his point. “A family member told me that the company he works for has 3000 product leaflets printed every year and then 2000 unused leaflet are tossed in the bin. When you see the numbers, everyone understands that you can order fewer product brochures. Nevertheless, the people from the sales department continue to order 3000, because they have been doing that for years. Because the different teams do not communicate well and no one can prove with numbers that that amount is too high, this will continue to happen. That is illustrative of how many organizations, small and large, are working. ”
The new gold
Nine years ago, SMT was a value-added reseller specialized in IT infrastructure and monitoring. Until it met software vendor Splunk. After that introduction, SMT evolved into what it is today: a successful company in offering data analytics services. SMT has helped over 150 customers in nine years and saw its own organization grow from 5 to 60 people. “Fortunately, we realized early on that data is the new gold.” Crielaars says.
SMT saw that Splunk also continued to develop. Crielaars: “The analytical possibilities of Splunk have grown enormously in recent years, in areas such as machine learning, artificial intelligence, predictive analytics and anomaly detection. It is much more than monitoring. Not just, “does it still work?”, but also “does it still work tomorrow?”. The strength of Splunk is, among other things, that it is able to index and search unstructured data. You throw in data and afterwards you can look for insights.
Many companies are convinced that it makes sense to look at and manage on data. But how they should approach it often remains a question. This is where SMT comes in, because it adds value to the Splunk platform in the form of knowledge. “We have become a one-stop shop. In addition to selling Splunk, we also help with the design, installation, connecting data sources and extracting value from that data. We are also the only party in the Benelux that is certified to provide Splunk training.”
SMT talks about its SMT EDAP®, the SMT Enriched Data Analytics Platform®. “Splunk is the foundation and we enrich that with our own services, best practices, integrations and a development plan. We are not the type of company that sells something to the customer and wishes him good luck afterwards. We take him on a journey. It’s not without reason, that since we have been offering Splunk, many organizations have been customers for the full nine years.
Crielaars summarizes what that journey looks like. “We first look at the bottlenecks of an organization. What would they like to have more insight into? Within a few days we can then take the first steps in connecting data sources and visualizing trends. This way we help the customer to become a data-driven company at his own pace.”
SMT’s target audience consists of large companies in almost every conceivable market segment. Such as finance, high-tech, logistics and government. Its clients include Schiphol Airport, ProRail, bol.com, T-Mobile and various ministries. “Even though our customers are working on completely different things, they face the same challenges. For example, with regard to big data and security. Our experience with one customer is often also relevant to a customer in a completely different sector.”
Data analytics are more often within reach than many organizations think, Crielaars explains with an example. “A municipality wants to gain insight into the use of parking spaces. There are already sensors to indicate whether a parking space is occupied. We put this data into the SMT EDAP®, and translate it into information with which we create visualizations, dashboards and reports. With the analytical and predictive possibilities of the SMT EDAP®, the municipality can see what kind of impact an upcoming festival will have on the number of parking places, both on the street and in garages.
Crielaars can name many more and completely different examples, such as that of a telecom company for which the SMT EDAP® recognizes fraudulent telephone conversations in real-time and with almost 100 percent accuracy. “Our EDAP is this strong because it is much more than a business intelligence tool. It is also used to monitor the performance of applications. Or to see and repel attacks on the infrastructure. A big advantage is that you can use the same data for multiple purposes and also by multiple departments within an organization. Where the IT department monitors applications, largely the same data sources, with a different view, can be used by the cyber security team or the business analytics team. That way, not just a small part of a company is data-driven, but the entire organization is. ”
The SMT EDAP® provides insight into big data and ensures that strategic decisions are substantiated with data. SMT does this in various domains, both in the field of Information Security, IT Operations and Business Analytics. This supports the strategic objectives of your organization and you can take the first steps towards data-driven decision making. Have you just started your journey towards data-driven decision-making or are you looking for an experienced sparring partner? Then contact the SMT experts.