Social, mobile BI could make real-time analytics a possibility for every department

C-suite executives and IT professionals have been leading the charge for business intelligence (BI) adoption. Until now, however, true self-service BI has lagged behind, according to Kurt Schlegel, research vice president at Gartner.

"Although this is a mature market and has been a top CIO priority for years, there is still a lot of unmet demand," Schlegel said recently in a statement. "Every company has numerous subject areas, such as HR, marketing, social and so on, that have yet to even start with BI and analytics." 

A Gartner study estimated that the BI software service market will grow another 7 percent in 2013, largely in response to new technologies like social media, mobile solutions and cloud computing.

In a recent blog post for Forbes, Daniel Yuen, Gartner's research director for business intelligence, analytics and performance management, predicted that real-time capabilities will make the technology more prevalent across the workplace

The rise of self-service BI solutions
Gartner labeled the three major innovations – cloud, mobile and social media – the "Nexus of Forces," projecting that these technologies could be a major driving force behind rapid BI adoption. In particular, real-time dashbords and mobile and social BI could bring business analytics to more departments across each organization, according to Yuen.

In his blog post, Yuen noted that companies are always trying to use the data at their disposal to make the best decisions possible – about anything from sales and marketing to human resources. Prior to social media and mobile applications, however, they were constrained primarily to internal data.

Now, companies have vast amounts of outside information that they can use to make the most informed decisions. For example, product managers will have real-time visibility into sales order processes through dashboards and mobile BI platforms. Meanwhile, HR departments have an unprecedented opportunity to leverage social media information in conjunction with internal data, according to a recent SHL report. This will enable hiring managers "to identify skill shortages and development opportunities, while also answering the most pressing talent questions, such as whether the company has the talent to execute on its business plan and grow at the desired rate," said Ken Lahti, vice president of product development and innovation at SHL.

The key, according to Yuen, will be enhancing the ease of use for social and mobile BI solutions, something that may already be in the works. He noted the Gartner study, which found that more than half of real-time business dashboards will be compatible with multiple operating systems by 2016.

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