The Death of Business Intelligence

From specialist capability to mass-market take ups: The world of BI

Posted in Business Intelligence by TheLondonEconomic on September 6, 2013

The market for businesses intelligence (BI) software has gone through something of a seismic shift in recent times, as it moves from being something of a niche or specialist tool only used by those with the skills to harness it, to a mass market behemoth capable of playing a massive part in the decision making of companies across the globe.

In the beginning, only those with requisite skills could harness the data analysing powers of BI thanks not only to the complicated nature of the concept, but also the prohibitive costs, and the failure of various firms to include non technical people in their decision making with regards to their take up.

So now, with barriers in the sector being broken down repeatedly, just how has BI managed to become more inclined towards the mass market it once evaded?

The changing BI concept

The major barrier to use of BI software in the mass market was simple – the technology was too complicated for the average user. However, three areas of focus are now helping to break through this hurdle as BI providers put more of a focus on the technology’s end users.

These, known as “super trends” have tended towards the non expert, with an emphasis now being placed on the technology user.

Firstly, there is now much more of a realisation of the value of the Big Data analysed. Second comes the realisation that technology development is now not all about being faster and stronger and is about being usable and accessible to all who need it, even if they are not clued up. Lastly is the emergence of a blurred line between professional and personal technology use, which has made for more of a consumerisation in BI, and led to a more business-led concept.

Business-led BI

According to Computer Weekly, the concept of business-led BI is one which can be summed up in three simple points; cheaper, faster and easier.

In order to advance, then, companies have had to adopt the following strategies in order to make sure that BI software barriers are a thing of the past.

Low cost – This was the main barrier to BI, and it is now generally believed that it should be easy to acquire the essential tool to at least a basic level for a relatively low initial cost.

Self serving – Users should be able to make use of the technology without having to have an extensive IT network behind them.

Universality – There should be a uniform style to technology in the sector to make sure that it can be used by experts and novices alike.

Accessibility – The software needs to be able to be used on any device in any place. This has been helped by the emergence of the cloud as a driver for BI growth.

Visuals – Interfaces should be easy to use and simple to navigate. While tech experts may favour command based prompts, for example, those without the skills will not be able to use this.

With these changes being made across the board then, the traditional barriers that were in place for the BI market are being broken down to allow the technology to become more accessible and on a wider scale than ever before.

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Improving BI analysis among the top company priorities

Posted in Business Intelligence by TheLondonEconomic on September 2, 2013

Business Intelligence software has been becoming more and more popular in recent times thanks to the fact that it can aid in decision-making processes and help target choices to improve results in the long run.

A new study has shown that the positives that can be gained from the use of BI technology and analytics have made these two of the top tech priorities that can be seen around the globe, with even governmental chief information officers saying that this analysis is something they will be looking to target in the months ahead.

According to the findings from Gartner, which surveyed 398 chief information officers from around the world, the top two priorities moving forward are business intelligence and analytics and legacy modernisation.

“When faced with unsustainable business models, government executives are more willing to make targeted technology investments and undergo the extensive organisational change necessary to achieve the productivity and quality gains made possible by IT,” Gartner research director Rick Howard said.

In order to meet this demand then, it is important that BI providers, businesses and governments work in tandem to make sure that everyone is best served, with many firms making use of BI likely to want flexible contracts that do not tie them into using a certain technology.

For example, if it is the case that there are older technologies that do the same things as newer versions, BI providers may want to look at ways they can keep costs down, and this can include continuing to run the older methods.

However, clients will often want to move on to newer technologies and as a result they will be loathe to sign up to contracts that lock them into the use of one kind of software for a set period of time.

An example of this has been seen in recent times with the arrival of cloud technologies for BI software, which has made the analytical tools far more mobile and accessible, something that companies will want to be able to make use of moving forward.

However, this is something that companies and clients need to be able to work on as a two-way street. It will be preferable to clients to have a flexible contract, but they will need to be able to prove to the suppliers that they can  offer them something in return, according to one expert.

IT contracts expert Iain Monaghan of Pinsent Masons, said: “Buyers need to balance the cost they are prepared to pay for IT with the benefits that new technology can deliver. Suppliers are less resistant to renegotiating existing contracts if buyers can show that there is a reason for change and that the change offers a new business opportunity to the supplier. This is why constant engagement with suppliers is important. The contract is meant to embody a relationship with the supplier.”

The rise of the cloud in BI: How to take advantage

Posted in Business Intelligence by TheLondonEconomic on September 2, 2013

The cloud is becoming ever-more important in the world of business intelligence so it is important to know how to take advantage.

Business intelligence (BI) software is a concept that more and more business across the world are getting a hold on, using the analytics technology to steal a march on the competition and get ahead of the game.

However, despite the innovative nature of BI itself, there are always new developments, and this has meant changes that companies need to stay on top of – one of the most pertinent of these has been the rise of cloud-based BI software.

The cloud allows business to access this technology from anywhere in the world, allowing for remote working from home and business trips, which can cause large-scale savings throughout a number of years, but how do businesses take advantage of these advances and make sure they are using them to their advantage?

Price

There is no doubt that in its infancy BI technology was something aimed at largely the biggest companies around the world, as those with the deepest pockets were able to shell out on what was an expensive luxury.

However, as it has developed and prices have come down, and particularly since the technology moved into the cloud, it has become something far more accessible to smaller firms as well.

To make the most of this, it is vital to shop around and do some research before committing. A smaller outlay on the right BI technology for the job can end up making all the difference to the bottom line.

Security

With any cloud technology, security becomes an issue. While with office-based software, someone more often than not has to be present to take advantage of any security lapses, the cloud can allow for cyber attacks more commonly.

For this reason, businesses need to ensure that they are choosing a vendor with a good track record for things like encryption and ensuring that only the right people have access to the cloud. This can stop vital information from being leaked to the wrong people and damaging the business.

Training staff well can also ensure that security is high. If they are going to be working on the cloud for the first time, it’s vital that they know how to keep the data they use safe and not risk it being accessed by unauthorised parties.

Mobile access

Being able to access the cloud over mobile channels is one of the biggest advantages of the modern age, and so ensuring that your BI vendor can provide this is an absolute necessity.

All staff will have access to mobile phones and tablets, so it can be great to put these to good use and get the maximum amount of work that businesses can from their staff. When people are travelling between offices or on business trips, having access to BI via the cloud will ensure that they can still work and capitalise on their time away from the workplace.