Posted by Karen
May 21, 2015
We’re almost halfway through 2015 – hard to believe – and the dynamic arena of business intelligence continues to advance. It’s the vendors that adapt better and faster to this evolving environment that will have the competitive edge. Similarly, the businesses that make the best choice of BI technology, that best fits their operation, will thrive and succeed. So let’s look at the “Big 10” business intelligence trends – the ones that are the most significant and prevalent so far in 2015…
According to a recent IDG survey, one aspect that seems to be missing in a large number of organizations is a holistic data management strategy. This is alarming considering data management often excels when there is a clear infrastructure and backbone for success.
With more and more users of data discovery tools across the organization, improved data governance is critical to ensure efficient and effective use of data, while enabling users to make better business decisions. Self-service data and analytics are fast becoming the standard and, increasingly, business users are demanding direct access to data to gain their own insights.
As the way data is used adapts to business needs, so too must the governance of data and the distribution infrastructure that makes it available. Better business outcomes will ensue as more accurate data insights result in both increased revenues and reduced operation costs.
In 2015, the trend to self-serve analytics technology continues in a big way. Its use is rapidly spreading across every department and at all levels. We’re saying good bye to the days when data was available only to analysts. BI solutions that provide users with true self-service transform them from passive consumers of data to active users. End users rather than IT will largely dictate the pace and the specific BI tools that are most relevant to the enterprise, with applications created with an ease of use that seemingly belies the IT department. There are so many options for BI and analytics tools, the 2015 Gartner Magic Quadrant for Business Intelligence and Analytics Platforms will be extremely helpful if you are seeking the best BI solution for your business.
The demand for interactive and sharable data analysis is skyrocketing. Static reports can’t tell a story and invariably leave unanswered questions. On the other hand, an interactive BI platform like Tableau allows users to create compelling data stories that will build consensus and convince executives to take action. The interactive feature allows business users to explore the data and answer questions in real time. This changes analysis from reporting centric to analysis centric and facilitates better decisions.
Organizations are looking to stay ahead of the game with comprehensive BI solutions that process information from multiple sources and in multiple views. Over the last decade, the availability of massive amounts of data from a multitude of disparate sources has led to more complex and cumbersome data environments. This in turn, has led to a sharp increase in demand for rapid data source integration leveraging simple interfaces.
Although mobile solutions for analytics arrived years ago, only recently has the technology developed to a level that gives users the ability to analyse on the go. As more workers spend less time at their desks, mobile vendors are focusing on improved user experience with emphasis on design.
No longer are organizations seeking the holy grail of a limited number of BI products standardized throughout the entire organization. It’s not achievable, and it’s not even desirable.
According to a 2015 survey conducted by InformationWeek, 28% of respondent firms now say they’re standardizing BI products, which is down from 35% in 2014. And 21% say their firms use “many analytics and BI products,” which is up from 16% in 2014. 3
Adoption of big data platforms like Hadoop and NoSQL continues to grow in 2015 due mainly to their ability to handle semi-structured, unstructured and variable data. The overriding reason for using or planning to use BI and analytics is the ability to correlate data across multiple disparate data sources, like Internet, clickstreams, geospatial data and customer transaction data. And when liberated from these applications, data can be used in select visualization tools like Tableau to draw actionable insight.
While 2014 saw the increased use of cloud analytics for data in cloud apps, in 2015 the use of cloud analytics is expanding to include on premise data.
However, be aware that BI in the cloud is not the best solution for every organization. For instance, it would not be recommended for businesses with extensive legal requirements with respect to data auditing.1 Secondly, BI in the cloud is not necessarily the least expensive option in every circumstance.
After a certain point, cloud hosting can be less cost effective than on-premise. Therefore, organizations should be sure to evaluate all related costs including vendor licensing, people costs, scope of project and overall cost of ownership. Finally, ideally everything should be browser based in a cloud solution, so watch out for cloud based BI services that require client side software to connect to their data in the cloud.
In the past, the role of the chief information officer was to oversee infrastructure and ensure that systems were up and running. Now the “I” in CIO has evolved, and it is much more about innovation than information. CIOs now are being looked upon to transform the organization in a more strategic way—not just to attend to IT infrastructure.
With the proliferation of self-service analytics, forecasting and predictive analytics are becoming more prevalent as well. The adoption of predictive analytics has been facilitated by more advanced data analysis technologies and the increased number of effective applications. Business users can now use predictive analytics without the need for extensive expert consultation or scripting. This trend is expected to continue as predictive analytics has not yet come close to being fully exploited.
Predictive analytics allows executives to anticipate what is about to take place and, thereby, make better decisions, with greater consistency and lower costs. Top areas in which predictive models are generating significant value for organizations include marketing, customer retention, pricing optimization and fraud prevention.
In today’s era of “big data” and fierce competition, organizations need to go beyond the analysis of historical data to compete and thrive. The organizations that use predictive analytics technologies to look forward and be proactive will be the ones to sustain a competitive advantage.
1. Joe McKendrick. “Business Intelligence Advances in to the Clouds but with Some Caveats”. Forbes.com.
2. Chris Preimesberger. “Trends to Expect in Business Intelligence, Big Data in 2015”. eWEEK.com. December, 2014.
3. Douglas Henschen. “Analytics, Business Intelligence and Information Management. Survey of Business Technology Professionals”. Informationweek. December, 2014.
4. “Top 10 Trends in Business Intelligence for 2015”. Tableau Software Newsletter. December 2014.