BI – Down with Dashboards, Up With Instant Info

According to the “Magic Quadrant Report” for 2014 the market for business intelligence (BI) and analytics platforms is predicted to grow at a rate of 7% through 2017. Some analysts have predicted even faster growth in cloud based BI solutions. According to analyst Tom Pringle the current marketing is worth $85 billion and by 2017 the cloud BI market will be worth at least $4 billion.

Part of the explosion is driven by companies now faced with a need to rapidly access data in a fashion that allows more direct use by decision makers. Many are integrating systems to run in Excel to increase end-user adoption (Microsoft’s cloud offering does this via Office 365) and some are looking at providing access to data via mobile devices.

In order to make this work the ability to customize the data and how it is presented is becoming increasingly important. One industry expert describes their end-users as “drowning in dashboards”, which have become the common way data is aggregated and displayed. Sifting through these to find only the ones critical to you and the decisions you need to make isn’t quite that easy. This tends to drive down adoption and the effectiveness of your BI system.

Gartner sees many of the industry leaders overcoming these issues by way of acquisition and many have made recent buys of assets that would allow for greater levels of functionality and more refined methods for sorting based on user needs, not one size-fits-all.

In his commentary on the future of the cloud BI market Pringle calls the concept of driving business intelligence use and tailoring its access features “business-led BI”.

He writes, “They are, in a nutshell, BI that is easier to use, cheaper and delivers results faster. The continuous cycle of technology development has played its part in making business-led BI a reality. It is not, however, just the tools themselves that are changing, but the way they are accessed. For the first time this year, my [Pringle’s] market research included cloud BI as part of the estimates of spending in this area.”

Although all see growth in cloud-based systems there is still a large and growing investment in on-premise systems thanks primarily to concerns over data security. Nonetheless even these systems are either being adapted or are adaptable, by capable developers, to meet even the mobile, user customized and more “real-time” needs of modern decision makers.

During the Gartner Business Intelligence and Information Management Summit in Sydney, Dr. Rado Kotorov, vice president of product marketing for Information Builders had this to say about the traditional BI user and the emerging group, “We always interpreted BI and analytics as a job everyone had to do, which isn’t wrong. But the difference is analysts go through the analytics and data from an analysis perspective and often take their time, while professionals make their decisions based on tacit professional knowledge,”

He also used a new mobile tool as an example of how he sees the changing need of end-users, “Google Glass has been built to target professionals where they cannot look back at their information, instead need that information right in front of them so they can make decisions almost instantaneously,”

Companies large and small who have already invested heavily in their BI deployments can take advantage of a number of firms who have both planning and development experts that can assist you in building these newer capabilities into your current system.

No matter where your business fits into this new world of BI, more companies need to take advantage of data they have accumulated than less. Long term, thanks for a growing supply of lower cost development, adding business intelligence to your mix won’t necessarily over burden you budget, but it will boost your bottom-line.