The Death of Business Intelligence

Trends in Business Intelligence and ERP systems for 2015

Posted in Analytics, Business Intelligence by luisaferreiradsp on December 18, 2014

2015 will be a year of consolidation and transformation for Business Intelligence (BI). The rise of the Internet of Things (IoT), the integration of cloud and the ever increasing demand for mobility, will shape the way people consume data and shape an established industry that’s worth $89.5 billion this year alone. ERP systems themselves are transforming from a desktop-only model to a device-centric mobile technology.

What are the paradigms that will change? How will this affect the Business Intelligence industry? And most importantly, how are you preparing for the upcoming year? Are you ready for what’s to come? Here at DSPanel we have prepared what we think are the main things you should consider in 2015.

  • Integrate and analyze wherever you are

Integration is one of the top aspects for any big tech trend such as mobile, cloud, Internet of Things, and digital business.
With the ever-increasing need to ‘do more with less’, enterprises will be keen to adopt agile approaches to integration. This will also intertwine business agility with the flexibility to use a variety of services, the scalability to keep pace with business volume, and the efficiency to keep costs to a minimum. Rapid integration leveraging simple interfaces is going to become the standard.

  • Apps

When it comes to simple interfaces, and according to Gartner, apps will play an important role in delivering intelligence. Apps enhance the mobility and versatility side of the software available as they will allow real-time and simplified analysis.

  • Smart analytics start to emerge

Advances in graphical and intuitive modeling will mean a bigger role for data visualization in BI. As self-service analytics become more mainstream, tasks such as forecasting and prediction, will become more common and a lot less painful.

  • Analytics across the organization

In today’s BI landscape, we see a dilution in the roles each person plays within an organization. That is particularly true in the case of data analysis. Today’s data analyst is no longer the BI expert within the department. Data is now being analyzed and generated by your operations manager, supply chain executive or even salesperson. This will have implications on the way BI is utilized in 2015 and on the type of platforms we’ll see appear during the upcoming year.

  • Dominance of Mobile and the intersection with Business Intelligence

More and more companies will invest in mobile solutions and business intelligence software to get more out of their existing ERP systems. Businesses are leveraging mobile ERP not just for reports and dashboards, but for conducting key business processes. Real-time information needs are demanding more agile business applications.
This is an ‘anytime, anywhere’ Era. Allowing access to ERP data from any device, puts users in the driver’s seat and facilitates the interaction with technologies on their own terms while also empowering the occasional user.

  • Convergence of ERP and consumer interfaces

With the proliferation of social media platforms there is a growing need for platforms that offer a user experience close to those user-friendly interfaces that we see on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram. However, until now, ERP systems have always maintained a more complex and less consumer-friendly look and feel. A new look at the user interfaces from ERP vendors such as DSPanel’s partner Epicor, all reveal that 2015 may be the year that enterprise software starts to close the usability gap with the social media giants.

  • Different technologies complement one big system and make it simple

When it comes to ERP systems there is an increasing demand for software which complements each other. Companies will create a large puzzle with items of software that suit their needs perfectly. More importantly, the choice of software is becoming crucial. The major software developers like to react quickly to current trends, providing swift interaction, and a wide variety of their products. This means the puzzle is going to get bigger in 2015.

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Analytics: The Slow Adoption amidst Value Creation

Posted in Analytics, Business Intelligence, Mobile BI by errahseno on April 11, 2014

There are many articles with in depth discussion on how Analytics can help improve business performance, how logical it is, and how valuable it proves to be. The question remains as to why many businesses are slow to adopt this nothing-but-fruitful Analytics.

Certainly, the question of technological difficulties is out as a substantial number of companies are mushrooming offering a wide variety of enterprise performance software packages that promises to collate, import, and transform data such as SAP, OutlookSoft, or IBM solutions or even the smaller companies like Qlikview, Tableau, or DSPanel.

All these articles reveal only one reason for meeting difficulty adopting analytics despite its potential value to the company – resistance to change.

For example, the IT managers want to remain as the go to person for data governance and security. Likewise, his team fears losing control over the data compromising data security and increasing the costs of managing data.

The IT team of course is a valuable asset to a company as they maintain information security across the organization and one cannot lay blame on them if they take on a defensive stance as they endeavor to move forward with the least cost and highest security.

Ensuring that the IT manager remains to be that person in charge of data control and security, explaining to him how he can greatly help with the upcoming projects, and making his IT team understand that security will not be compromised is a step toward ensuring acceptance of applying analytics.

It is not always just about data but also about making people understand why certain changes need to happen. The well-being of the employees is as important as any other key factors decision makers should consider when rolling out changes. These changes affect the people within the organization hence, the employees´ involvement and deeper understandings for the need for analytics are critical factors that must not be taken for granted.

Equally important is the determination of the proponents´ of Analytics within the organization. As one lobbies for analytics, there will always be naysayers. People who tend to stand by the status quo will resist the change despite being proven wrong on a factual ground. The heavier the weight of the opinion of that person is which is directly proportional to the position a person holds, the harder it becomes.

Notwithstanding the intense resistance met, the advocates must not be frail and continue to communicate to these people with stronger than ever determination in order to convince the others why analytics will be a good addition to the company.

 

Financial Consolidation software: The Binoculars of the Corporate World

Posted in Analytics, Business, Business Intelligence, IT, Mobile Business Intelligence by errahseno on March 18, 2014

The Chief financial officer and his team are bombarded with overflowing huge amounts of data every day. It is not a bank of data resources that is question rather a question of how well the team can convert all these data into valuable information able to run the business and drive maximized profit.

While it may seem fairly easy for smaller companies, this is not the same case for a bigger, widely distributed multinational company. The daunting tasks of having to collate the profit and loss reports from varying locations, to consolidate these reports, and contrast it against the corporate budget is just a bird´s eye view of what they have to battle with.

Imagine what it feels like for these teams during month-end reporting. Just moving the entries from being just operational to now analytic is a challenge by itself. As if the challenge is not enough imagine reconciling the ledgers.

Without any doubt, the system of guessing and crossing fingers just cannot do the trick anymore if the company wants to stay afloat in the industry and even more so, if the company has high ambitions of aggressive corporate growth. The home-grown make-do financial systems of companies which used to suffice cannot even be relied on anymore.

There needs to be improved visibility on what drives the inflow of money for the company and what drives its losses. There needs to be an improved ability to see where the money should go and where it should not. A tool which can be used to have a closer look at the real numbers, turn these numbers into analytic information, and these information into concrete business decisions.

Does my tool help me see things clearly?

There are disparate notions about what makes up good financial software but when searching for a new financial consolidation tool, there are certain things that are non-negotiable. Here are 3 of the most important features, you need to look for:

1.       User-friendliness

This is always an overly claimed and promised feature by many software-providers but very few of the choices of software out there actually are. In choosing financial consolidation software, people tend to forget that ease in setting it up and maintaining the tool is just as important as what it can do. The tool must be easy enough for the team to be handled but robust enough for the tool to handle all of the demands of consolidation.

2.       Intelligent, Real-time Functionality

Can your tool keep up with the modern complexity of your corporate structures and hierarchies while making sure it can handle varying currencies and several account policies? Is it intelligent and quick enough to allow you to view certain financial impacts of certain types of changes in the organization? Can it keep up with the dynamism of your business? Do you have instant access to transaction systems?

3.       Rigid Control

The integrity of the numbers you produce in the end is the most important factor you must consider. Does your financial consolidation tool provide you features that ensure the process is tightly regulated minimizing risks? Do you get reasonable numbers out of it?

If you are not convinced by the tool you are using or the tool you are considering, it sounds logical and reasonable to reassess your options, think about your predefined financial structures and goals, and how this tool can leverage you towards fulfilling those goals. The financial software consolidation tool is after all, your binoculars to the future.

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.

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.

Predictive analysis spending soars on demand for business intelligence

Posted in Analytics, Business Intelligence, IT, Microsoft, SAP by neilwilson1984 on December 12, 2013

A desire for better business intelligence is driving demand for predictive analysis software, according to a new set of figures. According to the study by Transparency Market Research, the market for predictive analytics software will be worth over $6.5 billion by 2019.

The growth is being driven by increased demand for customer intelligence, as well as fraud and security intelligence software. In addition, cloud hosted predictive analytics software solutions are seen as an emerging market that will drive growth in the near future.

Banking and finance services, insurance, government, pharmaceuticals, telecom and IT, and retail, are seen as key demand drivers during the forecast period, which will see the market more than triple in value from a base of just over $2 billion.

But the biggest growth will be in retail and manufacturing, largely due to fast growing consumer driven digital data and the subsequent need to extract strategically critical information from this data.

The study authors say a rise in incidences of frauds, payment defaults, over or under stock inventory levels, and regulations regarding governance, risk, and compliance, have pushed companies to adopt predictive analytical models.

“Demand for industry specific software solutions has caused customer intelligence, fraud and security intelligence, and campaign management to emerge as leading segments,” they say. These segments together accounted for approximately 50 per cent of market revenue in 2012.

The US and Canada will continue to lead the way as business intelligence demands drive uptake of solutions capable of analyzing big data.

“North America, which has been at the forefront of generating big data in large quantities, is expected to remain the largest market for predictiveanalytics software solutions,” the authors say.

“This is due to demand for advanced business intelligence being directly affected by need to analyze big data. Growth of predictive analytics aspect of business intelligence has seen a revival ever since big data gained popularity and has been growing exponentially.”

All this is good for companies, with competition increasing as big data vendors – SAP, SAS, Oracle, IBM, Microsoft – now entering the market for predictive analytics.

Analytics ‘key driver’ for mobile adoption

Posted in Analytics, Business Intelligence, IT, Mobile, Mobile BI, Mobile Business Intelligence by neilwilson1984 on December 10, 2013

Speed and better analytics are proving the key drivers for global mobile adoption. That’s according to an IBM study showing 90 per cent oforganizations around the world are willing to sustain or increase investment in mobile technology over the next year to 18 months.

A key reason for upping spend on this sector is the measurable impact on speed and productivity. Half of the respondents in the poll, for example, reported a ten per cent gain in employee productivity as a result of mobile efforts.

The survey looked at the business advantages of using mobile technologies for business intelligence, including the way it “fundamentally” changes how organizations interact with customers, and develop and deliver innovative products and services to market. In particular it identified so-called mobile strategy leaders who have a clear direction for their efforts in this sector.

Data and analytics was a key difference between this subset and others. Seventy per cent or more of leaders surveyed describe themselves as effective in areas such as addressing structured and unstructured mobile data, handling large volumes of data, analyzing mobile data and taking action based on that data. Under 37 per cent of non-leaders said they are equipped to deal with these issues.

Integration is another area where there is a clear difference. Again around seven in ten of mobile leaders indicate they have been successful in ensuring interoperability with other systems, leveraging APIs for external or cloud-provided data services, and providing service-oriented architecture and sharing information among systems/devices. On the other hand, only around 40 per cent of non-leaders report being successful with these tasks.

“Today, mobile is quickly emerging as a transformational game changer in business that will drive new levels of innovation and interactions,” said Kevin Custis, social business and mobile practices leader at IBM. “It is far too limiting to define mobility simply as a device or a channel for transactions. The organizations that come out ahead will be the ones that prioritize mobile and redefine its use to drive a new set of business expectations and user experiences.”

Big data drives software spending

Posted in Analytics, Business, Business Intelligence, IT by neilwilson1984 on December 4, 2013

Companies are devoting more resources to business intelligence, upping their investment in big data and analytics.

According to latest figures from International Data Corporation (IDC), year-over-year growth in the worldwide software market for 2013 has been revised down to 4.3 per cent.

However, spending on BI solutions will hold up over the coming years, the firm’s Worldwide Semiannual Software Tracker indicates.

Collaborative applications along with structured data management software and data access, analysis and delivery solutions are expected to show the strongest growth over the five-year forecast period. The sector will grow by eight per cent between 2012-2017 as companies up their invest in this key part of their operations.

“Leveraging the social dimensions of the Internet keeps fueling the collaboration growth, much of which is in the form of software as a service. This is complementary to the increased attention to big data and analytics solutions, which help enterprises to understand and act on anticipated customer behaviorand provide new insights into product reliability and maintenance,” said Henry Morris, senior vice president for Worldwide Software, Services, and Executive Advisory Research.

Enterprise applications such as CRM, ERM, SCM, and operations and manufacturing applications will grow by around six per cent.

“Enterprises are starting to implement applications that either didn’t exist or weren’t needed in the past, such as commerce applications in all industries, not just retail, but also manufacturing, hospitality, food and beverage, and even the public sector,” said Christine Dover, research director, Enterprise Applications and Digital Commerce.

The report also shows IDC is beginning to see applications in categories that didn’t exist in the past, such as subscription billing, spend optimization, and revenue management. Often these are used for requirements that may have previously been met using custom applications or manual processes, explained Ms Dover.

The findings come after a separate study found that BI and analytics software professionals overwhelmingly prefer a cloud-based BI solution over conventional, on-premise installed software for gaining access to the real-time business data they need to make better decisions, according to a new report.

Cloud BI user satisfaction tops 80 per cent, said the report from Dimensional Research.

IBM takes predictive analysis to IT

Posted in Analytics, Business Intelligence, IT by neilwilson1984 on December 3, 2013

IBM is bringing predictive analysis to IT operations to help system administrators better find and solve potential problems.

The firm says its new software will enable clients to apply foundational elements of cognitive intelligence throughout their IT infrastructure. The aim is to help workers gain insights from big data, rather than being focused on how to cope with its sheer volume. Such insights, says IBM, can help predict and prevent IT downtime, improve productivity and generate cost savings.

Increasingly organisations are dealing with complex IT systems of servers, networks and applications. Combined with mobile and cloud, these systems can generate more than 1.3 terabytes of data per day, including log files, software error alerts, IT service tickets and network configuration updates.

This can lead to up to one million system alerts per day, some of which are critical to performance and others that are irrelevant. Sifting through all of these and making sense of it all is where the new software comes in.

IBM SmartCloud Analytics – Predictive Insights enables employees to wade through terabytes of IT operations data in real time, spotting only the trends that are critical to IT network performance. The software’s “cognitive computing capabilities” can learn, reason and sense an organization’s IT systems.

The software adapts as business and performance conditions change, updating settings and eliminating costly errors caused by poor system configuration. This new technology will run on the SoftLayer infrastructure, which is the foundation of IBM’s cloud portfolio.

“As the value of data continues to grow, the differentiator for clients will be around predicting what could happen to help transform their business with speed and conviction,” said Steve Mills, senior vice president and group executive, software and systems at IBM. “IBM’s latest set of solutions allow clients to help predict customer behavior and outcomes with speed and ease, all delivered from the cloud.”

Consolidated Communications is one company working with IBM’s new predictive software. It expects to save $300,000 annually in reactive costs alone by analyzing IT operations data.

Cloud-based BI solutions preferred

Posted in Analytics, Business Intelligence by neilwilson1984 on September 30, 2013

Business Intelligence (BI) and analytics software professionals overwhelmingly prefer a cloud-based BI solution over conventional, on-premise installed software for gaining access to the real-time business data they need to make better decisions, according to a new report.

Cloud BI user satisfaction tops 80 per cent, says the study from Dimensional Research, which found BI professionals say cloud solutions offer faster implementation, lower total cost of ownership and broader user adoption than installed BI software

“These results confirm that cloud BI solutions are strongly preferred, offering faster, easier and more economical deployment and lower total cost of ownership, along with superior ease of use, which drives broader user adoption within the organization,” said Diane Hagglund, senior research analyst for Dimensional Research and the study’s author.

Cloud BI users reported the highest level of satisfaction, with four in five “very satisfied” or “satisfied” with their solution, compared to just over half (51 per cent) of on-premise BI users who were satisfied.

More than half of BI users said they would choose a cloud BI solution over on-premise, while only 14 per cent said they would prefer on-premise software.

It was also found that cloud BI solutions offer faster implementation. Four-fifths (83 per cent) said cloud BI solutions offer faster implementation compared to on-premise software, with 69 per cent of cloud BI implementations were completed in less than three months.

By comparison, the majority of on-premise users said their deployments took more than six months, and 44 per cent were completed behind schedule.

Cloud solutions, says the report, are cheaper. Fewer than one-third of cloud BI users reported implementation cost overruns, while nearly half of on-premise users said they exceeded budget or incurred unexpected costs during implementation.

In addition, three in five (60 per cent) of those polled said cloud BI solutions are easier to use, and require much less training. Four-tenths (44 per cent) stated that on-premise required the most training for business users, compared to only five per cent for cloud BI users. When asked about administrative overhead, 80 per cent stated that on-premise solutions require more administrators.

Adoption rates are also better in the cloud. Over half of respondents said more employees access and use cloud BI solution, compared to just 17 per cent for on-premise BI.

“The truth is that regardless of how beautiful your application is, how many features it offers, or how much it costs—if employees don’t use it, all of that is irrelevant. This survey proves that more people prefer –and actually use—Cloud BI to gain the critical business intelligence they need to drive success,” said Brad Peters, chief executive officer and co-founder of Birst, which commissioned the study.

The report comes as Oracle launches ten cloud services, as well as a cloud marketplace, to show it is serious about the cloud. These include database as a service, Java in the cloud, and business intelligence (BI) in the cloud.

Thomas Kurin, executive vice-president for product development at Oracle, explained to Computer Weekly: “[We can] give you enterprise resource planning [ERP], human capital management [HCM] and customer experience [CX] in a single cloud.”