How Does Time to Insight Drive Data Analytics Success?

In the fast-paced world of modern business, the ability to quickly transform data into actionable insights is not just a luxury but a critical necessity. Companies deploy a mix of analytics software, cloud platforms, and other technologies to gain competitive advantages swiftly. This article delves into the importance of rapid insights in data analytics, illustrated by compelling examples from industries such as Formula One racing, financial services, and actuarial science.

The Thrilling World of Formula One: Data at High Speed

Formula One racing, a sport where cars zip down tracks at over 200 miles per hour, offers a perfect analogy for the importance of swift data analytics. The merging of car and driver into a single, high-performance unit captures spectator interest, but behind this spectacle lies the meticulous work of a massive team of engineers, technicians, and mechanics. These professionals’ skill and knowledge are fundamental to delivering victory, underscoring the group effort that propels a successful team like Oracle Red Bull Racing (ORBR).

While casual fans might see Formula One as an individual sport, the reality is that drivers rely heavily on vast teams of support staff. These teams leverage the power of data and the technology needed to unlock its extensive value, securing a competitive edge for driving superstars such as Max Verstappen and Sergio Pérez and addressing the business needs of the organization.

Jack Harington, senior partnerships manager for ORBR, emphasizes the unseen efforts: “We not only have 60 people who we take to the track, but what people don’t realize is that we have a similar number sitting in our operations room outside of London.” These engineers provide live, in-the-loop support to those at the track, making on-the-spot decisions based on data sent back to the factory. This real-time data flow is crucial for optimizing car performance and race strategy.

Technology plays a key role in driving desired outcomes for ORBR, with much of this technology powered by data generated trackside and analyzed in the Oracle cloud. Dan Smith, former technical partnerships executive at ORBR, explains: “During an event, we have virtual machines that we run up with Oracle. We’re running about 45,000 data points a second through the computer into the cloud.”

This vast amount of data is then transformed into valuable insights. Analysts look at various performance metrics, such as cornering performance and time lost in different types of corners, to infer how setups can be adjusted to maximize lap times. This process exemplifies how rapid, real-time analysis can provide a significant competitive advantage.

Speed Matters in Business: Lessons from Formula One

The kind of rapid analysis ORBR performs on race day is typical of the most successful analytics programs. Speed is a critical factor in every business. Chandana Gopal, research director of IDC’s Future of Intelligence practice, notes: “The market forces and the way that we operate change so quickly that if you’re not able to keep up and get the right data at the right point in time, you might be able to survive for the near term, but in the long term you’re going to have competitors that will outpace you.”

USAA, a company providing insurance, banking, and other financial services to military members, veterans, and their families, exemplifies the importance of fast, data-driven decision-making. For more than a century, USAA has focused on processing data to help customers, a core business function that is continually evolving.

Ramnik Bajaj, USAA’s chief data and analytics officer, highlights the company’s journey to become data-driven. “It starts with asking the right questions and having the tools to answer those questions with data and analytics,” he says. This journey involved migrating data from an on-premises IT environment to a Snowflake data warehouse on Amazon Web Services cloud infrastructure.

USAA’s unified data environment, powered by Alation, allows business users to search for data easily and quickly build Tableau analytics and reports. This unified approach enables employees to create a comprehensive view of members, improving customer service and offering tailored products.

With 6,000 employees creating reports and 14,000 viewing them, the ability to quickly access and utilize data is crucial. Bajaj explains: “We’re faster in our ability to use the data. We are more creative in asking data-oriented questions because people can actually discover the data and find its use.”

Milliman: Empowering Actuaries with Advanced Analytics

Milliman, a global actuarial and risk management firm, uses complex models to project decades into the future, determining business performance, risk exposure, and capital management. These models are vital for reporting to stock market regulators and require significant computing power.

Tom Peplow, principal and senior director of technology strategy at Milliman, discusses the company’s efforts to empower actuaries with advanced tools and data. Milliman built an internal data platform called Integrate on Microsoft Azure, allowing actuaries to build reports using Microsoft Power BI.

This platform enables actuaries to run complex models, produce data, and create detailed reports. One common report, the income statement, projects decades into the future and involves numerous scenarios and extensive data. The goal is to reduce the total cost of ownership, speed up time to insights, and open up data access for clients.

Milliman is also exploring advanced Microsoft data analytics tools and generative artificial intelligence to further enhance insights. “We’re hoping that this technology will have a dramatic impact on that time to insight,” Peplow says.

IDC’s Gopal emphasizes that an organization’s business strategy should drive its data architecture and strategy. She advises: “You don’t have to wait to fix everything to become data-driven. You’re going to have to ask yourself, ‘What are the drivers that really affect my business outcomes?’”


The ability to quickly turn data into actionable insights is crucial for businesses across various industries. From the high-speed world of Formula One racing to the data-driven operations of financial services and actuarial science, rapid insights can provide a significant competitive edge. Companies that prioritize speed in their data analytics efforts are better positioned to adapt to changing market conditions, make informed decisions, and ultimately achieve long-term success. By understanding and leveraging the importance of rapid insights, businesses can ensure they stay ahead of the competition and continue to thrive in an increasingly data-driven world.

Related Posts

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

© 2024 Gym Room at Home - WordPress Theme by WPEnjoy