Figuring out what exactly business intelligence means today can be a challenge. It's no longer the staid group of solutions that could only yield insights from a small amount of structured data sources, but exactly what it has become is a bit unclear. Fortunately, it still has plenty to offer, and leaders who determine the ways in which analytics could help them may be primed to take their companies beyond less data-driven rivals in the months and years ahead. The addition of features such as mobility, self-service and big data access to the fold has given new life to the science of BI.
The current role
A recent Business 2 Community overview by consultant Denise Drummond-Dunn delved into the many different elements of running analytics within a modern company. She explained, for instance, that BI functions best when the questions it is assigned to solve are of a certain level of quality. This can be achieved by setting experts to the task, perhaps including market researchers. Drummond-Dunn posited that since researchers are adept at making predictions based on information gathered from a vast variety of employee input, they are poised to participate in the new style of BI, less one-dimensional and more capable of delivering actionable insights.
Drummond-Dunn also stated that dashboards are a key element of the new style of BI. This way of presenting data is more instantly actionable than old-fashioned reports that contained facts but were less visually compelling. Leaders who look at data don't want to spend a long time pondering the numbers. They want to use that content to take action and choose what's next for the company. That means learning the gist of the content as quickly as they can, and that in turn means dashboards. The author posited that next, firms must extend this level of access to more employees.
The future calls for software
Dealing with the demands of next-generation BI means having the right software suites in place, just as much as it requires vast reserves of content and a well-trained workforce. Fortunately, software developers are working with these requirements in mind. Programs such as Necto 14 contain features that may have seemed hopelessly futuristic as recently as a few years ago. Whether leaders are most interested in extending insights to a wide variety of employees, dialing up visual accompaniment for their figures or making this all available on the go, this type of solution can deliver the functionality and keep the BI process evolving over time.