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Business Intelligence Must Mesh with Your Business to Work: Page 2

By Drew Robb     Feedback
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Self-service, easy-to-use BI is the future

Wayne Morris, CEO of myDials, has a different take. He noted that in the past, BI and analytics were used periodically by business analysts to produce reports and supporting information primarily for strategic decisions. But because of the high cost and IT resources required to implement traditional BI, use has been primarily within larger organizations that have a sophisticated IT staff.

"There are multiple demands being made by business that are fundamentally driving the evolution of BI/analytics," said Morris.

He lists several factors, including:

  • Making business intelligence information available to everyone making daily decisions, not just business analysts (Operational BI)
  • Making the business intelligence solution easy enough to be deployed and configured without involvement from IT (Self-service BI)
  • Making the information more real time to reduce the latency of decisions (Real-time / Right-time BI)
  • Ensuring that everyone (not just analysts and statisticians) making decisions can apply and understand analytics to enhance these decisions ("Every-person" analytics)
  • Making business intelligence affordable and easy to deploy for those companies that are smaller and don't have large IT resources through software as a service (SaaS BI).

"BI is not about simply providing the ability to visualize and filter data — it has to add meaning and deliver insight," said Morris.

He feels this is best achieved in several ways:

  • Alerting relevant people to issues requiring attention through alerts that are derived using an intelligent rules engine;
  • Providing embedded knowledge to provide context and enhance understanding of the information being presented;
  • Allowing people to collaborate and to share their knowledge and analysis through the use of data annotations and notes;
  • Providing easy-to-use analytics that help people characterize issues by applying trends, forecast projections, control charts, variance analysis and scenario analysis.

"BI/analytics help business people make better decisions more quickly by delivering timely, relevant metrics; contextual information and knowledge sharing; proactive notification of issues that require attention; analytics to characterize and determine the nature and cause of those issues; and the ability to perform ‘what-if' scenario analysis to determine the most effective action(s) to take," he said in an attempt to define current-day BI.

Morris thinks that social media has relevance in online marketing as well as being another source of data that must be analyzed and used in marketing decisions. Further, social media business intelligence capabilities allow people to easily share knowledge, insights and understanding.

"BI/analytics is undergoing a fundamental shift from being a specialized tool suitable for use by a small number of highly trained business analysts to a broad capability that empowers everyone on an organization making daily business decisions — this is the power of self-service BI," said Morris. "An analogy is the shift that occurred with online travel booking tools — these went from something only suitable for use by trained travel agents to something we all use in our everyday lives to book our own travel at our convenience."


This article was originally published on May 12, 2011
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