The Death of Business Intelligence

BI 2013: How did the market fare?

Posted in Analytics, Business, Business Intelligence, IT, Microsoft, SAP by neilwilson1984 on January 22, 2014

Business intelligence (BI) is a term that has been on the lips of many businesses and their owners the last year, with companies looking to find solutions that make decisions that little bit easier. It has seemed that uptake of the strategy and software has been picking up pace throughout the year, but just how did 2013 treat the BI industry?

Overview

In general, the BI market last year was relatively strong without setting the heather on fire. Growth might not have reached peak levels, but they have been far better than at other times and other sectors across this year.

According to one expert, it has been very middling, with the chief executive officer saying: “I’ve seen better, I’ve seen worse.”

Uptake in general has been good, but it has failed to reach the 40 per cent growth levels that were experienced back in the mid-90s. However, it is important to note that at this time the market was still new and exciting and it was being brought into firms for the first time.

On the other hand, though, the market has not hit its lowest ebb either. This was experienced in 2008, when growth levels were hammered by the worldwide recession. Companies paring back what they offered meant that growth sat at just two per cent throughout that year.

This is no bad thing though. While other sectors across the globe have seen revenues dropping and have had to make cutbacks, the fact that BI has continued to grow can only be seen as being a good thing for the sector overall, leaving good prospects on the cards for 2014 and beyond.

A tale of two sizes

In 2014, it has been about different types of BI, and growth in the two can be compared on one simple scale – size. While large companies have continued to grow throughout the year, it has been those smaller firms that have enjoyed the best levels of improvement in 2013.

Large BI providers such as IBM, Microsoft, Oracle and SAP have enjoyed a growth level that has sat at just single-digit improvements in terms of revenue, but it has been a different story further down the ladder.

According to Condi Howson at Information Week, some smaller firms have performed so strongly that many even nearly doubled their revenues throughout the year.

One such company was Tableau, which saw its revenue figures jump by 75 per cent throughout the year 2013. Other companies that enjoyed revenue leaps far in excess of larger competitors included TIBCO Spotfire (30 per cent) and QlikTech (23 per cent).

Why?

So why are smaller BI companies performing well? The answer is simple – they are much more malleable and ready to adapt.

Most small and medium firms cannot afford the very largest BI solutions, so they look towards those that can provide just what they need – self service and bespoke software that just ticks all of the right boxes.

Of course, they cannot get these from the larger companies around the globe, which means they will increasingly turn to smaller BI firms, giving these a boost throughout 2014.

Advertisements

BI: Bringing back business for intelligent strategies

Posted in Analytics, Business, Business Intelligence, IT, Mobile, Mobile BI by neilwilson1984 on January 17, 2014

Business intelligence (BI) is something that has been used by more and more companies across the globe in the past few years, as they look to grab the initiative and get a head start on their rivals.

However, thanks to its development as a very IT-centric notion, it has been the case since BI became a big trend for the tech people within firms to be more involved with its use than those who actually need it most.

According to Anna Young at Business2Community, BI up until now has been centred around technical uses, with IT professionals sending their BI reports to IT bosses. She said this is an issue that leads many businesses to not get the most of their investment.

To solve this, Ms Young said, companies need to realise that they should be bringing the business back into BI, allowing those who make the big business decisions within companies to have the final say on how it is used and how the results are utilised.

So just how can the trend be reversed so that BI works for firms and gets them the most for the money they have put in?

User friendliness

Because of its basing in IT, one of the biggest hurdles that many companies will face is the fact that the tools are not user-friendly for those who are not tech-savvy. They can be hard to work with, and are often discarded or passed on to someone else. This shows the need for tools that are easy to understand and straightforward to utilise.

Self service

For small companies in particular, the full scope of BI will not be needed to get the desired results. However, it can often be true that they need to have ‘all or nothing’ when investing, and this can turn many away.

Allowing companies and buyers to only purchase things that they want and need can be an effective strategy in allowing them to have a BI solution that works for them at an affordable price.

Mobile

Unlike the majority of BI specialists, decision makers in firms may not strictly be office based, or they might at the very least be out and about at some point during their working week.

However, big calls will still need to be made, and often these can’t wait. By permitting use of BI via mobile channels, developers will make it easier for companies to implement the strategy in the modern world, and uptake could be greatly improved.

Collaboration

Companies will often nowadays also want to have the chance to collaborate on ideas, and this is something those without the technical nous might not have the ability to do themselves.

Professionals in IT need to make sure that the data created is not only usable by people who are not savvy, but also sharable and easy to collaborate with in conjunction with other departments within the firm.

The biggest BI trends in 2014

Posted in Business, Business Intelligence, IT, Mobile BI, Mobile Business Intelligence by neilwilson1984 on January 14, 2014

This year could be a good one for business intelligence (BI), with companies across the sector looking to grow as businesses in other industries do.

But with this in mind, what will be the biggest trends and differences in 2014?

The rise of the decision maker

According to many experts, this will be the year when the BI market finally moves away from being one that is primarily IT-centric and becomes a lot more user friendly.

Over the past few years, IT professionals have created, used and produced the reports that are associated with the software, but there are now more companies looking to get involved at the ownership level so they get a feel for what they are using.

This will mean that BI becomes more user-friendly and usable throughout the year, as opposed to being the very technical solution that is has often been criticised as being in the past.

BI in the cloud

With the fast-paced way modern business has developed over the past few years, one of the biggest trends that has emerged has been that of cloud storage. Now BI and the cloud be set to merge throughout 2014.

The cloud allows companies to store data and software without needing physical hard drives, making it cheaper and more convenient, and this is something that BI firms will need to capitalize on.

In addition to this, companies will also be able to share data between different offices within their firm, allowing for better collaboration and a smoother operation, another thing BI can become involved with.

Mobile data

Mobile solutions are now one of the most important developments in any BI strategy. It has become more vital than ever, given that people can work on mobiles when they are away from the office, on transport or even at home.

This, of course, means that they will need access to BI while they are doing so, so having the solutions and software available to them on their devices will be vital to ensure that they are always connected and able to do their job to its fullest.

It’s important that BI companies provide this as well to make sure they can maximise their potential revenue streams in the new year.

Self service/bespoke solutions

This is a trend that has already been quite prevalent in BI over the past few years, but it is set to become even more so in the next few months as companies start to grow.

Risk aversion will be a thing of the past in 2014 as more and more firms instead look to grow and expand rather than shirking away, but this will not mean reckless spending. They will still look to buy software that allows them to pick and choose the most relevant functions for them and gets them the best price.

This means that 2014 will be another year in which self service and bespoke BI is important.

Big Data: The evolution

Posted in Business Intelligence by neilwilson1984 on January 10, 2014

Big Data is an ever-evolving and changing marketplace, but just how will it evolve in the future, and how will it meet the needs and demands of the ever growing volume of data that the market and its related software is asked to cope with?

Speed

With the fact that there is now more and more data created all the time, and the sheer volume rising at an exponential pace, there has been a need for it to be processed and analysed quicker and quicker.

According to one expert, massive amounts of data must be analysed on the spot. This has meant that companies across the globe have invested somewhere in the region of $14 million into the in-memory processing market.

This means that terabytes of data can be processed and analysed within just a few seconds. One company, according to a popular technology blog, recently realised the importance of speed when it comes to the analysing of data when its sensor data ballooned to a full 5 terabytes per day.

The expert added that it is now the case that almost every single Big Data vendor is having to create and release products that are specifically linked to making sure data is analysed as fast is as possible.

Data quality

Another factor that will become more and more important across the next year and beyond is the quality of the data that is being processed. Because of the sheer volume of what is being analysed and acted upon, it is vital that the data is of quality that means it will produce results and not just take up valuable time and space.

Because of the fact that data analysis is now so fast it is far outside the realm of the need for human minds, it is now the case that many decisions are made without a person being involved at all, with data cleansed, analysed and acted upon on. This has caused problems though, where a stream of bad quality data can lead to viruses, data loss, financial losses and even fines.

What some companies have started to do, and what will become more of a trend moving forward, is to deploy a system that combats poor data quality by making sure that any issues created are flagged up instantly rather than having to wait for problems to occur. It allows bad quality data to be wiped out very early in the process.

Specialist apps

In the age of everyone wanting to use Big Data, it has become more and more common for people not au fait with Big Data to want to be a part of the process. But this has led to issues with usability and compatibility.

It is a problem that will be combated moving forward, with apps specific to certain industries becoming ever-more prevalent to help companies harness Big Data even at the most basic levels.

Tagged with:

How to use BI for a better return

Posted in Business, Business Intelligence by neilwilson1984 on January 8, 2014

Across the globe, companies are always looking for ways to make sure they are as effective as they can possibly be, making the best decisions and giving themselves the greatest opportunity to get things right, and crucially, more right than their competitors.

This has meant that more and more has been spent in the last few years on business intelligence (BI) software that gives an insight into companies’ data and allows them to make the most measured decisions to get ahead of the competition.

However, according to one expert, investing in this will be pointless if companies are not also ensuring that they are exercising correct working practices. Vijay Govindarajan of Harvard Business Review said there are a number of stages that companies should undertake to ensure that their business is operating as a well oiled machine and that BI delivers the results and returns they are after.

Starting point

Companies should always have a clear understanding of their business at its starting point before they use BI.

Before they go anywhere, they need to know the reality of the here and now so they can see where they want to go. It is impossible to build a strategy and set final goals in any way if you haven’t an idea where you are starting from.

Destination

Next thing that needs to be laid out is the destination. Before employing BI, you need to know what you want from it. What is the final goal in terms of revenue. This should always be laid out so that you have something to aim for in the long run. Without an idea of where a company should be headed, any new IT strategy such as the use of BI can seem a little aimless.

Planning

Once you know where you are and what you want to achieve as a business, you need to work out how you are going to get from one reality to the other. Set up quarter by quarter sales targets, and look at how you will achieve these to hit overall goals. To set a target without ever looking at how you will get there can be a disastrous strategy that ends in rash decisions and money lost in the long run.

Varying

Expect the plan to have some variants throughout the time you are making use of it. No plan will ever go exactly as you thought it would, no matter how well thought out and reasoned it may be. The important thing is to be ready for this. If you have to work off plan, don’t panic when it happens. Simply take a step back and make a new route after assessing the new situation.

Act early

This ties in with the idea of variation. If you do find yourself off plan as a business, it’s important to make sure you deal with it and get back on track as soon as possible. If you take a wait and see approach, it can often mean the problem is exacerbated and takes far longer to rectify. Instead, you should tackle issues head on from the earliest possible opportunity.

Tagged with: