Modern Business Intelligence is the new era of BI and data analytics. It has a new BI workflow. But what is different? What makes it “modern”? Let’s start by reviewing the previous BI models. First generation BI was governed and server-based. It was mostly about reporting and had only basic analytics with limited dashboards. IT had to do all the reporting and the process was usually long and tedious. Then came the second generation, which was desktop-dependent. Its claim to fame was self-service BI and dashboards that anyone could use. At first, it seemed great, until clear problems appeared, such as data silos, security issues, and the compromise of IT requirements.
Modern BI is the next generation, combining the best of both previous generations. Having learned from mistakes, the industry realized that both self-service and governance were important. What makes Modern BI “modern” is the ability to solve the requirements of business users, who demand more self-service, automated data discovery and KPI monitoring—beyond the basic needs of dashboards and reports. And at the same time, solve the requirements of IT and BI teams, who need governance to maintain a single version of the truth, secured data access, and powerful analytics.
To take full advantage of Modern BI’s benefits, enterprises need to implement a modern BI workflow. Consequently, both IT and business shine in their execution according to their capabilities and roles. Success happens when all parties collaborate and share their knowledge in a secure environment. The modern BI workflow is made up of four components.
1. Secured Data Access
The first step to ensure the success of the modern BI workflow is for IT to set initial permissions for data access. Different teams in the enterprise will need to access data on different levels, and it all must be done in a well-structured and secured environment. Once IT sets this initial stage, business users can enjoy access to a single version of the truth.
2. Analysis and Data Discovery
The second component is analysis and data discovery. Users will start to analyze data and interact with the existing templates for dashboards. This is where self-service is crucial. The platform should be easy to use so that business users from all skill levels can easily re-use a dashboard or modify and add components. The modern BI solution should allow all kinds of users to analyze their data and find insights within the platform, without having to recur to Excel or other tools they were using in the past. A state-of-the-art solution like Necto, will allow users to find automated insights with just a couple clicks, regardless of their background or level of expertise. Ease-of-use plays a key role in adoption of the modern BI workflow across the enterprise.
3. Collaboration and Sharing
Users will find insights that increase collective knowledge when shared with colleagues. First generation BI platforms limited the ability to share to delivering static reports. In contrast, Modern BI allows users to collaborate with each other within the platform, they can discuss their findings and share insights. Users can open discussions in the context of data and work with confidence, knowing that it is a safe, unified environment. Modern BI delivers insights via sharing and collaboration. Sharing is the first step towards becoming a social enterprise, which is a new level of connectivity within the corporate world leveraging the social grid to share and collaborate on information and ideas. Modern BI takes the concept of social networking, crowdsourcing and thread-based discussions to communicate and share insights in Business Intelligence.
4. Flexibility and Governance
The Modern BI workflow needs flexibility and governance to succeed. Flexibility is a big challenge for self-service BI. The BI platform needs to be relevant and easy to use for both experienced analysts and business users. Flexibility promotes scalability and adoption across different departments in the enterprise. Governance is an equally important challenge. It is imperative to maintain a single version of the truth if everyone can access data. Less than 10% of self-service BI initiatives are governed sufficiently to prevent inconsistencies that adversely affect the business. The key to self-service BI’s success is governance.
A governed BI solution gives users the freedom to explore any data and act on their insights while giving IT the power to manage the system. It will allow the enterprise to take full advantage of its most precious asset: its data. And an insight-driven organization has a strong competitive advantage. Nowadays self-service is a must, just make sure that it is governed and flexible in order to have a successful modern BI workflow.