Diena Lee Mann, Founder and CEO of Spectio speaks with Steve Wanamaker, Founder and Publisher, CDO Magazine in a video interview about Spectio as a product and business, the primary challenges in deploying business intelligence (BI) tools, co-existing with BI solutions, and the impact of AI on the role of business analysts.
Mann introduces Spectio as a BI collaboration product that enables business stakeholders, analysts, and data engineers to produce BI outputs like data sets and Tableau dashboards efficiently. She adds that it is specifically designed for enterprise analysts who work with business consumers of data and engineers who then deliver the data outputs.
Moving forward, Mann shares that the foundational stone was laid when she defined the persistent problem of the translation gap between business stakeholders and data and analytics teams. She maintains that it becomes challenging to deliver successful BI initiatives when business stakeholders cannot convey the data requirements and domain context to their technical counterparts and vice-versa.
In addition, Mann discusses the challenges faced by business analysts, who are considered translators between the two functions. She maintains that after experiencing the problem first-hand and having thorough discussions with data leaders, Spectio was brought to life to address the translation gap.
Mann further lists the following three prime challenges in BI:
Explaining the progression of the challenges, she states that generating ROI from BI initiatives depends on having the right data to support effective business use cases. Also, it is critical to define, communicate, align, and evangelize the KPIs.
Highlighting the issue of data literacy, Mann shares that people’s comfort level with basic analytics and adoption of BI tools makes it difficult to deploy self-service analytics. Furthermore, she notes that even if a company delivers some ROI and has a data-literate workforce, it has a problem with governance.
This is where Spectio comes in to speed up the data delivery to consumers with sophisticated data needs, says Mann.
Shedding light on Spectio as a business, she elaborates on how it promotes cross-functional collaborations by addressing the translation gap between business and data leaders. Emphasizing collaboration, Mann refers to Gartner’s 2023 magic quadrant on analytics and BI, which included an evaluation criteria for collaboration.
As defined by Gartner, this enables a broad spectrum of users to co-produce analytics outputs and enable organizations to make decisions with consensus.
Commenting on co-existing with the prevalent BI solutions, Mann urges users to think of Spectio as a companion product to existing BI solutions. She affirms that while most BI tools solve for the “how,” Spectio communicates, documents, and aligns on the “why and what” around BI.
When asked how AI would change business analysts’ roles, Mann responds by stating that if AI is the rocket ship to the moon and data is the fuel, business context is the roadmap. Elaborating further, she asserts that AI at times falls short in interpreting results, since good data-driven decisions demand context.
Since AI is trained on limited data, domain expertise remains a critical asset, confirms Mann. Therefore, business analysts can guide the development of better data models, by contextualizing data output through a real-time lens of business impact, and inform future analyses based on the outcomes.
In conclusion, Mann states that data analysts can repurpose their time and focus on strategic value creation by becoming problem-definers rather than problem-solvers. Also, she advises data analysts to lean into cross-functional collaborations to improve data outcomes and analytics initiatives.
CDO Magazine appreciates Diena Lee Mann for sharing her success stories and insights with our global community.