An Interview with Ranjan Sinha, President, Axis Group
Axis Group, a leader in business analytics solutions delivery has partnered with Unifi Software to bring self-service data to Fortune 1000 customers across the United States. Unifi Software recently sat down with Ranjan Sinha, to get his take on the market opportunity, the technology, and the go to market strategy of Axis Group.
Unifi: What do you think some of the barriers are today for self-service data?
RS: All too often IT ends up being the response agent to requests for data and only pinpointing pain points instead of addressing holistically what a business group, department or person need on a consistent basis to operationalize their business. It’s critical to understand the ergonomic use of information by a group or a person, for example, what are they selling or how do they need to support their customer or the business. When business and IT can find that common ground it’s much easier to string things together to identify all the data needed for the next best action or to solve a problem.
Unifi: Why do you think an enterprise data catalog is the critical starting point for a self-service data journey?
RS: Many companies today struggle to figure out where their data is, what they have, how it will be used and who needs, or should have, access. Data is highly disbursed and stored in multiple locations across many varied environments such as data warehouses or in a data lake, and in a growing capacity—cloud. The healthcare industry is a really good example. They have lots of different datasets and even though they are trying to consolidate into single HR and EMR systems they still have external systems like HR, revenue collection, resource planning, and supply chain all in different systems. Because of strict regulatory requirements, they are also challenged with moving data into easily accessible data stores.
A true enterprise data catalog that encompasses the ability to discover and catalog data across the broadest number of data sources using data virtualization-to gain access to data without the need to move it, combined with governance and security to meet regulatory requirements for authorized access to sensitive data, is not only an imperative, it’s an ideal starting point.
Unifi: How do you feel the Unifi Self-Service Data Platform differentiates Axis Group in the market?
RS: Axis Group has a proven methodology for holistically improving a client’s ability to compete with analytics. What Unifi does is it allows us to speed up that process so our clients realize results that much faster. Unifi fits extremely well in our view of aligning technology implementation by IT and the usability of those environments by business users for gaining valuable data insights. There are a lot of vendors delivering individual tools to the market, but Unifi is the only vendor with a comprehensive platform that is amazingly easy to use and allows for seamless self-service data.
The integration capabilities of Unifi with other complementary tools makes it very attractive. Axis Group deploys and manages big data environments for clients. Every environment includes the necessary infrastructure and ingestion capabilities (Hadoop, Cloudera) with top-line visualization and predictive tools (Tableau/Qlik/Emcien). By adding Unifi to our existing environments, our customers are able to provide insights much more quickly than generating ad hoc scripts for every use case.
Unifi: Are there specific geographies or markets you cover at Axis Group?
RS: We work with more than 500 companies across various disciplines, including healthcare, energy, financial services, manufacturing, retail and distribution. These are industries that are all data challenged.
We’ve already touched on healthcare—financial services is more mature, and they are pushing the envelope with big data and streaming data to improve their customer’s experience. They deal with the volume and veracity of data and need to quickly figure out what’s usable and what’s not.
Manufacturing distribution is another industry where we see a tremendous advantage for collaboration. As larger manufacturing companies and distributors consolidate and/or divest, they have a myriad of systems which can’t easily be tied together. In some instances, companies have 10, 20 even 30 different ERP systems and transaction systems. Axis Group and Unifi will help them move rapidly to get one view of a larger decentralized company.
Unifi: How do you think the better together story of Axis Group and Unifi has been received so far?
RS: I think all customers want to have trust in both their technology and services partners. With Unifi and Axis Group being the respected leaders in their field, the early returns have been overwhelmingly positive.
Unifi: How do you see the market for self-service data evolving?
RS: We’re at a tipping point where it’s untenable for business users to wait weeks or days for information to flow into their departments in order to serve customers effectively, or make business decisions based on anything short of real-time insights. Every business needs to be operationalizing their end-to-end environments and make data vastly more accessible to drive innovation. To do that requires business users to be empowered with self-service data, which still affords IT governance and security oversight of data, but where users have the ability to iterate and curate insights based on direct knowledge of a business problem.
We expect to see much more demand for a data platform solution, such as Unifi, that seamlessly integrates all the capabilities for data catalog, governance and compliance, data preparation, workflow automation and community collaboration.