What’s Driving BI?
By Stefanie Hoffman
What do the health care industry, big casino gaming and local bakeries have in common? They all can and have benefitted from business intelligence and analytics tools.
These days, business analytics are the tool du jour. But, what unites these disparate organizations in their reliance on business intelligence tools?
It’s no secret business intelligence and analytics tools are growing. Gartner reports global BI platforms, analytic applications and performance management software revenue reached $12.2 billion in 2011, representing a 16.4 percent CAGR increase from 2010.
“BI, analytics and PM have been identified as one way to filter vast and growing amounts of information to reach insights and decisions in the digitized world, which is transforming industry after industry,” said Dan Sommer, principal analyst at Gartner.
Naturally, these same transformative qualities have just as much relevancy with mom-and-pop businesses as they do with major corporations powered by hundreds of thousands of employees. But what traits are necessary for the adoption and proliferation behind business analytics tools?
BI and analytics tools used to require an army of data scientists with formal training, an innate understanding of algorithms and the ability to synthesize disparate data into actionable strategies. This level of required BI expertise prevented organizations from defining a tangible ROI and thus represented a major barrier to entry for all but the world’s biggest enterprises, according to Information Management.com.
Flash forward a few years: BI, like many disruptive technologies, has undergone a personality overhaul.
Gartner analyst Rita Sallam, quoted by CRM.com, says that, to experience widespread adoption and growth, any new and disruptive technology needs to meet three criteria: ease of use, speed and relevancy.
Let’s break it down.
Business intelligence tools are gaining traction in market segments and verticals, thanks in part to a widely accepted self-service model rapidly accelerating as the gold standard for IT solutions. Tools such as IBM Cognos have become more intuitive and user-friendly, which means more streamlined user interfaces, consolidated “single-pane” windows and easily customizable reporting. This has allowed companies to break into smaller markets typically defined by lack of technological expertise, resources and available IT staff.
Business intelligence and analytics tools have also become more interactive and community-oriented, which ultimately makes them more engaging and relevant to a larger and more diverse swath of users. Many competitive BI tools are based on social networking platforms, sporting features like chat, annotation, analytics sharing and experience customization, according to Information Management.com.
It all comes down to empowering customers. The BI paradigm shift illuminates the inextricable link between ease of use and interactivity. These same characteristics will allow BI to become more accessible to a wider array of users, from small business to large enterprise, and this will continue to spur its growth into new and unchartered territory.
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