The Death of Business Intelligence

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.

IT Zero or IT Hero

Posted in Business, Business Intelligence, CIO, Crisis & Turmoil, IT, Microsoft, Office 2010, SPARQL, SQL, Value by jenniferrhowell on April 26, 2010

IT Specialist, IT Manager, CIO these titles used to strike fear in the hearts of many a CEO and CFO. Back in the good old days an IT specialist was like a God. The IT specialist would walk around with the power to transform companies by saying magical words no else could understand. It was fine that no one else understand because normal people aren’t supposed to be able to directly communicate with Gods.

For years this was how it went, IT would declare they needed something new (a piece of expensive hardware or software) and companies would blindly follow or fear being left behind.  Today, the IT officer isn’t special anymore. Today, IT within companies is seen like a Greek God, interesting historically but not relevant for bringing lasting change to the business.  Today, IT is supposed to do more with less. CFO’s demand IT cuts before any other department. IT implementation is a thing of the past; instead IT manages the current systems and adds new employees to the systems. IT managers, instead of fighting for their place within the company, are accepting the role of being outdated relics of the IT Golden Age.

Can the IT department be relevant again?

In a world where technology is everywhere and everything is technology, how can an IT officer and the IT department become relevant again? At a recent seminar by Peter Hinssen, a group of CIOs were told to ask themselves this same question. The answer it appears is surprisingly simple. IT needs to become risk takers again. When the world-wide-web was first becoming popular, IT implementers were the pioneers, guiding companies into the new world through our knowledge and the sheer force of knowing that IT was the future. The IT gurus in the company knew the Internet was going to be huge and they were sure they could make it work for their companies. Today, IT needs to take risks again. IT managers need to look at a company through fresh eyes and guide businesses into the future.

The forgotten bottom line

How can this happen if IT budgets are all about keeping current systems in place? Again, the answer is like a big, duh! The IT department needs to start thinking like a business. Look at the marketing department in your company. They have a budget to keep things like the website up to date and the marketing papers current, however, their second remit is to find ways of creating value for the business. If they seek $10,000 for a social media campaign, you better believe they’ve done their homework on the ROI this is going to bring to the bottom line of the company. The same needs to happen within the IT department. How many projects have you recommended that are going to bring a ROI within a year? In fact, in the last 5 years, how many IT projects have you recommended that will bring value to the company and did not simply support existing databases?

The Crystal Ball of the 21st century

One way of making the IT department relevant again is to sit in on each department and see what they do on a daily basis. What does Marketing, Finance, Operations and HR do and how can you help them do their job more efficiently? One really important question to ask is where are they doing the bulk of their work? As Michael Singer wrote on his blog Internet Evolution “The mobile phone and the laptop have replaced the desktop PC and cubicle as the workspace of the new millennium. So the challenge for enterprises today is to ensure that the mobile workforce is not only connected, but pretty much psychically linked.” As IT Professionals, you should be the crystal ball of the company. Where is technology moving and how can you implement this technology to give your companies the competitive advantage? Looking at the management team, are the software solutions you’ve recommended helped facilitate open communication and collaboration? Have these solutions enabled managers to make better, real time decisions? Is there a way to facilitate this decision, helping increase productivity and contribute to the bottom line of a company? Microsoft Office Suite 2010 is trying to offer this solution. Also, Business Intelligence packages like Power Pivot embedded in Excel 2010 or to get your organization on the right trace, solution that embeds advanced, unified planning and reporting capabilities right into excel. Performance Canvas Planning, offers a solution that offers complete information synthesis between departments as well. There are simple solutions that can start making your IT department relevant but they do require putting your IT department back into the corridors with the rest of the workplace.  As Mark McDonald said, “the value of IT exists through time, so any measure of IT should be shown across time”, while, it may be the case that you are no longer feared as Gods but in the 21st century you can still be relevant as productive, innovating and entrepreneurial where your input contributes to the bottom line of the company and doesn’t just diminish it.

To learn more about Office 2010 and planning functionality, go to the DSPanel website.