Expert Insight: Why BI Must Drive Action

We talk to Matt Kautz, VP of Business Intelligence at Machinima


Matt Kautz is VP of Business Intelligence, Analytics and Research at Machinima, where his team uses social media data to guide content development, optimize marketing, discover emerging talent and find high-affinity audiences for advertisers. Prior to his role at Machinima, Matt was responsible for forecasting opening weekend box office using social data at Walt Disney Studios, was a member of the Facebook Preferred Marketing Developer at an early stage startup, and established social media standards for the live events industry at Ticketmaster.

We sat down with him ahead of his presentation at the Business Intelligence Innovation Summit, taking place in Chicago this November 29-30.

How did you get started in Business Intelligence?

I got into BI as a business user first. My background is in marketing management, and early in my career I figured out that budget approval was always dependent on telling a compelling story with data. I was also an early adopter of social media, and became fascinated with finding ways to use it to improve decision-making across the organization.

With self-service analytics tools now commonplace, what do you feel is the future for Business Intelligence as we know it?

The ubiquity of self-service tools frees BI professionals from the rote, pedantic numbers delivery aspect of the job, and puts a lot more value on BI teams that can offer more intuitive and proactive analysis. It requires analysts who thrive on digging deeper to determine why the numbers went up, rather than simply delivering reports showing that they did.

Do you think companies focus enough on external data when it comes to Business Intelligence?

Some companies focus too much on external data, some focus too much on internal data. Identifying and integrating new data sources into the decision-making process is the primary job of the BI leader. BI must drive action, so it’s up to us to be sure that every data source being used or that could be used to make decisions is included in BI reporting.

What new technologies and tools do you feel are set to have the most impact on your role in the near future?

All of the data engineering solutions which allow for real-time data processing – Redshift, Spark w/ Hadoop, etc – are transforming the way that we evaluate quantitative data sets to allow for immediate optimization. I think advances in cognitive analytics and natural language processing offer the same opportunities for the qualitative data sets that businesses rely on for creative/strategic decision making.

What will you be discussing in your presentation?

In my presentation, we’ll look at the ways social media data is being used today by media companies to generate audience insights for product development, financial forecasting, marketing optimization, and talent discovery. This includes the analytical framework, BI toolsets, and pros/cons of the various data sources.  

You can hear from Matt, along with other experts in data analytics, at the Business Intelligence Innovation Summit. View the full agenda here.

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