Study: Identifying what companies want from analytics

The continued relevance of businesses in just about every sector is contingent, in large part, on their ability to evolve with the times. As such, the same can be said about the tools used to push modern companies forward, and big data and analytics are certainly covered under this logic. While analytics tools have attracted a great deal of attention during the last few years – and justifiably so – the providers of software designed to deal with these issues on an enterprise level need to be developing their latest products with the idea of evolution in mind. If they fail to do so, they will lag behind while their competitors surge ahead.

Recent research and industry analysis has pinpointed the priorities and needs that many of today's businesses have with regard to business intelligence and analytics. BI software providers should examine this data and take it to heart in their latest initiatives.

InformationWeek's survey – emphasizing visualization and self-service
Each year, InformationWeek conducts its Analytics, Business Intelligence and Information Management Survey. The news provider recently released the results of the 2014 iteration of this annual research effort, and it identified that the BI trends businesses are looking for are all dependent, to one degree or another, on a need for evolving capabilities.

For example, the survey found that data visualization tools are incredibly important to many modern companies. According to the source, these firms are looking for their BI platforms to provide complex analytical portraits of all important metrics, but to do so in a way that makes the data involved easy to view, understand and actionably implement. Ease-of-use challenges have been identified as the second-biggest problem that companies experience with BI software.

Additionally, self-service BI appears to be steadily growing in popularity, as businesses want to be able to access and properly implement their analytics without having to rely too significantly on their platform vendors.

Determining profitability
According to the Harvard Business Review, the concept of 80/20 analytics is prominent among companies using big data and BI on a regular basis. This term refers to the question of determining which 20 percent of a business's customers are generating 80 percent of its profits, but can also refer to the percentage of customers facilitating the most beneficial referrals.

Big data must be capable of answering these questions and similar queries, so that its users can benefit as much as possible. 

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