The year ahead will see some significant changes for how BI and analytics evolve in the corporate world and the BI marketplace as a whole.
Here are some top themes for what we’ll see the focus shifting towards in this year:
1. Analytics at the core of business process
Today’s enterprise information structures are generally application focused, with analytics added as an afterthought or final step in a process. Organisations are increasingly realising that information is core to competitive advantage and achieving their business strategy. Analytics is actually at the centre of the information structure and should drive the business applications and their processes, not the other way round. We will see a shift towards analytics becoming a critical competency within organisations and being at the core of any business process. Companies will focus on becoming analytics driven and not solely process driven.
Ultimately this is achieved through a clear analytics strategy which aligns to and enables the business strategy of the organisation. Top performing organisations are those than ensure BI enables the production of metrics to execute the key goals of the business. To learn more about how a BI strategy can help you ensure your information management enables the execution of your business strategy, please see here.
2. Cloud BI is mainstream
We’ll see Cloud BI really coming to the forefront in 2015. It’s become a serious contender for organisations of all sizes, particularly large enterprises, who look for a platform to enable the concept of Agile BI – ensuring information can be accessed and delivered to those who need it in a timely fashion. This is proving to be a real shift in how BI is deployed within organisations and is disrupting the BI norm for many businesses, driven from the information needs and requirements coming from the lines of business.
For a more detailed post on Cloud BI, please see here.
3. Self-Service must become a reality
Self-service BI has been talked about as a concept for many years now but many companies are yet to fully embrace true self-service across their entire business lines and processes. Many business still rely on central IT teams/processes to deliver BI reports for the business community.
This is still leading to:
• Delays and bottlenecks from the time of the information/report request from the business to the actual delivery of the report from IT, potentially reducing the value and meaning of the information itself
• The business community downloading data extracts and performing off-system activities such as manipulation, enrichment and stitching (often in Excel). This causes multiple instances of manual intervention in the analytics processes. Businesses should be ensuring Automated BI where data extraction through to report delivery is a seamless on-system exercise.
• Business users’ time being focused on creating reports rather than analysing the information and making decisions
Report and information building capabilities need to be pushed down to the business community for the timely delivery of information.
4. Mobile BI as standard
The delivery of business reports via mobile devices is now expected as standard – no longer just for certain reports and no longer just for certain teams of employees. Mobile reporting allows business to gain value from their information anytime and anywhere such as real-time interactivity in meetings or out in the field with customers.
With consumer based IT ever increasing into the corporate environment (driven in some part by business users’ expectations), employees need information at their fingertips at any point throughout the business day where ever they may be. The proliferation of mobile devices in the workplace (either corporate supplied or BOYD), particularly tablets which are now a standard ‘meeting’ tool used by those at all levels of the organisation, means mobile versions of reports are now seen as a mandatory requirement. When a user ask for a new report it’s pretty much a given that they’ll want it accessible on desktop and mobile.
Many BI vendors now offer the capability to surface existing and new reports on both desktop, mobile and tablets devices. However, as users expected instant interactivity and slick interfaces on mobile devices, much thought needs to go into the design of reports for mobile access and experience.
5. Data beyond the internal enterprise
• Social and consumer insights
• Market data, including real time market signals and events
• Non-market data that is directly related to performance (weather, traffic etc.)
• Collaboration and knowledge exchange with direct competitors or other industries
This is what research firm Forrester refers to as the new data economy, see their post here.
The use of external data will add value to businesses by allowing them to understand the external operating environment, allowing them to make decisions on how to develop or offer their products and services and gain competitive advantage or explore relationships with others.