Tag Archives: Business Intelligence Trends

Mobile Business Intelligence Shows Its Requirements, Potential

One of the most striking details of business intelligence evolution over the past decade has been its ability to add other great concepts to the fold. From the cloud to the democratization of software use, every avenue has been explored in an attempt to get insights to their recipients more quickly. One such exciting feature has been the integration of mobile access. Now, users who are away from their desks have a view of  the latest numbers in the form of efficient and powerful dashboards. This technology is not quite mainstream yet, but the sense is that there are big things in the pipeline.

Demand for Mobility
A recent Enterprise Apps Today piece used data from a few different surveys to determine what the climate is regarding mobile BI adoption. Whereas BARC's Carsten Bange cautioned that the traction for mobility is not there yet, a Dresner Advisory Services study found there was an uptick of interest in the solutions in 2014. The source reported that Dresner detected slightly reduced valuations of mobility in 2013, but that the blip didn't last. More than just going back to old levels, professionals' assessments of mobile BI were more positive in 2014 than in years past. These potential users seem to be discovering what mobility can do for them.

Business leaders who are better prepared for mobile BI use could find themselves with better results. According to Enterprise Apps Today, Dresner found organizations have begun to make informed decisions about the shapes their BI plans will assume. With this level of understanding, acquired over time, it should prove possible for firms to integrate mobility into their analytics strategies. In fact, Dresner reported that BI has become the second most important type of mobile app for businesses as of the latest survey. Only email access was rated more vital.

Freedom to Travel
Today's BI applications have begun to catch up with the interest in taking analytics on the go. Necto 14, for instance, sports a browser-based mobile version. Since all it takes is a browser to boot up this interface, iOS, Android and Windows devices can all gather insights. This is important in a technological climate that is split between the major operating systems and is unlikely to consolidate any time soon. Equipped with Necto's suite of security features, the mobile version is a huge help for an employee who wants or needs to be away from his or her desk. The demand for responsive mobile BI is being met through such solutions.

BI Development Still Ongoing

The march of progress is present in the types of business intelligence software deployed in workplaces around the world. This makes sense: Companies today define themselves by their IT footprints, and BI remains relevant no matter the industry or subject matter. Therefore, it's natural that analytics programs will receive close attention and a selection of great features. Organizations are filling their decision-making processes with an infusion of data, a move that seems to have made it impossible to go back to making choices via intuition – after all, if rival companies have a direct line to their data, firms without such access could be in trouble.

The Current Wave and the Next
There are many different trends flowing through the BI ecosystem at any time. Its evolution is not a one-sided process, nor is it one that can be completed all at once. IT Business Edge contacted one of its industry partners to determine where the feature development timeline is now and where it will be later in 2015. The source noted 2014 had its own share of futuristic upgrades, focusing on granting capabilities such as mobile BI access and the use of big data sets instead of the structured groupings that have traditionally held that role. Of course, time's march has made those elements a part of the milieu and brought a new crop to the fore.

As for the year at hand, the content displayed on dashboards may be set to shift. IT Business Edge reported that specialization and simplicity are on tap in the way data is displayed visually. Dashboards present representations of abstract numbers that make them immediately accessible and useful for the employees who need to act on the conveyed information. The source noted that any sort of general dashboard containing every metric needed by anyone in the company will be too complex, bordering on unreadable. A series of dashboards that each target a specific role can give better insights.

The Future is Here
While customized and well-designed dashboards are being presented as this year's new trend, they have already arrived. Necto 14, for instance, allows its users to see only the facts that impact them directly. This means that CEOs and other top officials can have the zoomed-out view that allows them to act in the interest of many departments at once, while highly specialized workers delve into their own verticals with drill-down metrics to make snap decisions accurately. This sort of personalized experience is part of the bedrock that supports true self-service BI.

Self-service BI a Natural Next Step for Some Businesses

Leaders within certain industries are pushing for new business intelligence features. Generally, these are expansions to the general concept of BI, whereas traditional BI represents the great idea of improving decisions through data but is constrained by its functional limitations. Older BI systems were functionally complicated, requiring dedicated IT professionals to parse the data on their powerful desktop PCs. These problems have been swept away by developments such as apps that can be used on mobile devices and the concept of self-service BI, simple interfaces that work in many departments. This latter trend has the potential to change the whole process of using analytics.

Organizations take the plunge
A recent CloudTweaks piece assessed which types of businesses are best suited for a self-service makeover. The source asserted that there is room for an upgrade in both large and small companies. While SMBs may be considered a more natural fit for this technology – because they generally don't have data scientists on staff and can benefit from simple BI interfaces – large organizations can also see improvement. According to CloudTweaks, there is room to reassemble a whole company culture around analysis. This is a way to boost the performance of every role from the C-level on down through a dose of data.

The actual granular benefits of BI are linked with its streamlining of age-old BI advantages. The source explained that a long process of communication between line-of-business pros and their IT department contacts can be completely eliminated when users each have their own BI software. The IT workers are free to get back to innovating and the company can move forward with its decisions, confident that they are fueled by fresh data and accurate analysis of those numbers. CloudTweaks cited more efficient operations without a correlated amount of time put in by the most tech-savvy employees.

Time to upgrade?
One of the most exciting facets of self-service BI is that it has already arrived. The futuristic capabilities built into these software solutions are available now through programs such as Necto 14. Throughout corporate structures, employees can view dashboards that directly address problems they are really facing rather than digging through reports meant only for expert eyes. Those same IT pros, freed from their duty of serving insights to the rest of the company, can press forward with the next stage of the organization's technological development. With everyone more productive, firms as a whole can improve their standing within their individual industries.

Business Intelligence Assuming an Advanced Shape for 2015

The process of extracting valuable insights from raw data has been part of the enterprise world for decades. However, business intelligence has never been stagnant. Compare two eras of the technology, even a few years apart, and it becomes clear that analytics solutions are moving forward on an endless timeline, with new options always emerging and the potential uses of the software expanding with the passing months. Leaders who previously decided the technology was too narrow or limited for their purposes may want to look again as BI faces 2015 with a new set of features and role within companies.

Trend Forecast: 2015
A recent eWEEK report on the state of BI got at a few of the issues that define this software. The source noted, for example, that it is no longer a best practice to only use internal information as fuel for analytics. Software solutions have grown – both the algorithms that crunch the numbers and the processes that gather raw data. It would be foolish to ignore the fact that good analysis comes from merging many different sources of information. By automatically melding multiple perspectives into one result, today's BI solutions can give a more nuanced picture of an industry without excess difficulty on the user's behalf.

The news provider noted that part of BI's evolution could come for the new role of the individuals tasked with managing the software. The IT department, once a kind of support system that ensured the rest of the firm was supplied with useful tech, is now an active contributor to corporate strategy. The synthesis of leadership and tech is so great that innovations are largely achieved by introducing an updated piece of software. BI could be one of the strategic game-changers, changing the contours of entire industry segments by equipping leaders with sought-after knowledge.

The push for great software
If BI is to fulfill the latter of those predictions and become a strategic game-changer, it will likely have to address the former, combining internal and external data. Solutions such as Necto 14 can pool a huge number of data sources into a powerful list of insights, tailored to suit the needs of the individual users working with the software instead of granting a generic overview. While there are many types of information out there and numerous different creators of this content, users who find themselves able to work with a large cross-section of data shouldn't hesitate to do so. The latest tech can help them bring this capability into their operations.

Business intelligence basics for 2015

Business intelligence is a technology with an unbeatable premise – better decisions. This is applicable to just about every area of corporate operations, in a vast number of industries. If there is data on a topic, companies can sharpen their response to related operations, and as of today, there is information pouring in on just about everything. Organizational leaders can commit a reasonable amount of resources to gaining an advantage over their closest rivals. Winning such a battle can represent the difference between financial success and failure in today's intense and close market battles that have extended to international competition via the Internet.

Today's competencies
Creating a BI project today means getting down to the basic concepts behind the technology, ideas that can be obscured by years of hype and experimentation. A recent piece by Forbes contributor Suhas Sreedhar pointed out these underlying concepts, the ones that animate analytics. He explained that one of the most important points of BI development is making the tools accessible to a wide selection of employees. This may be lost in the shuffle as organizations prioritize bigger and more impressive collections of data. Implementers who focus too hard on the quest to work with more resources may end up with a theoretically great system usable by no one.

Sreedhar relayed advice from IT Business Edge, explaining that theoretically sound BI projects can fail if no users can get a handle on their applications. In an environment where just about every department of a company has some kind of analytics it could be performing, cutting these professionals off is one way to weaken the relevance of a solution. Sreedhar noted that there is something to be said for spending a little on a system that will fit into an existing workflow. The opposite, breaking the bank and buying a solution no one can understand, is pointless.

Self-service BI thrives
The use of self-service solutions is the antithesis of the top-heavy model that suggests processing power is all that counts. Applications such as Necto 14 embrace true self-service BI as a mission statement and include dashboards that can be customized to suit the unique preferences of departments throughout the company. This way, employees from CEOs on down can see the data points they are used to and need to know about, rather than dealing with a stream of raw numbers or figures more relevant to some other section of the organization. This way of looking at BI can save companies from investing in tools that don't help them.

Marketers set to become BI leaders in 2015

The use of business intelligence is a broader area of organizational focus now than ever before. While these systems were once confined to a few experts, every generation has brought them closer to their destiny as easy-to-use tech solutions. The story of BI is the same as that of every other system that started in an exclusive silo and ended up on every desk. Prices and ease of use are becoming more forgiving and companies are realizing that the outdated model employees must use to file BI jobs with experienced workers dedicated to the task is inefficient. End users are calling for BI access and the tools are there to accommodate them.

The rise of marketing
Forbes contributor Prakash Nanduri recently sketched his view of BI in 2015, and the predictions include the furthering of several trends that are emergent today. For instance, Nanduri suggested that BI will go well beyond the IT department in the year ahead, with other departments making their own purchases. He offered two choices to IT leaders in the face of this demand: They can either make peace with the non-tech users and work toward common goals, or they can lose control of the ecosystem and be left behind. Today's employees are goal-driven – when they see an opportunity to improve their workflow, they take it.

Marketing is a department on the rise at companies all over the world. Nanduri stated that these sections are driving the expansion of their respective companies, a new status that means marketers have a hand in tech adoption. The author reported there are new possibilities unlocked by the presence of BI. Marketers are intensely interested in being guided by the facts gathered from inside and outside their organizations, as this means the end of intuition as a leadership tool. Firms guided by data will have a real-world view of their circumstances, one that could elude other organizations.

Time for self-service
Nanduri's insistence that self-service features are a pressing trend raises an issue for firms selecting BI software. They need this advanced feature now. Fortunately, solutions such as Necto 14 are ready to meet such requirements. The software is built to accommodate the needs of many different professionals, offering dashboards that show just what the users need to know. CEOs will have very different ideal views than marketers, but each can rest easy knowing he or she does not have to face down pages of menus or raw data to learn pertinent details. No matter which department is in the driver's seat, self-service BI features help them lead the way.

Analytics and retail remain a perfect pair

The more esoteric uses for business intelligence are exciting, to be sure, but BI is also helpful for everyday operations. Some fields, such as insurance, finance and retail, have huge troves of data flowing in and out that would turn into valuable resources with the right technology to harness them. This is where business intelligence and analytics systems fit in and, indeed, where they may already be doing so. When looking for a company that currently uses analytics, those with ample numerical data are great candidates. Firms in these industries that aren't using BI may be falling behind the curve.

The holiday rush
There is perhaps no greater test for retailers than excelling during the holidays. This is the time of the year when a strategy crystallizes and it becomes clear whether a firm will be seeing red in its ledgers. As TechTarget recently pointed out, BI comes to the fore when retail users need to be at their most effective, and that is the time between November and the end of the year. The source presented anecdotes from a specialty business called The Grommet which studies its customer base's behavior, hoping to find a marketing message that will sell an ideal number of products to consumers.

TechTarget explained that further clarification came at the SAS Premier Business Leadership Series gathering, where Northwestern University professor Terri Albert spoke on customer loyalty. Albert stated there should be a custom retail approach for each client, with practices that change automatically to meet clients halfway. To do that, companies need to take in data about their consumers and turn the information into action. This is a job for BI and advanced analytics software. Some analysis, including the inspection of social interactions, may enter the realm of big data. However firms handle this analysis, they should do so during high-pressure times for maximum possible impact.

Ideal products
Working with consumer data requires software that is up to the task. Programs such as Necto 14 fit the bill because of the ability to both analyze large quantities of esoteric data and present slivers of results that are relevant to specific individuals within the company. These professionals don't have to dig through endless screens to learn what they most want to know, and there's no need to hand off analysis duties to a small group of specially trained experts within the company, either. Such relevant and targeted knowledge delivery could transform the holiday season for businesses eager to optimize sales.

Business intelligence set to revolutionize real estate

There are many different fields that can benefit from an infusion of business intelligence and analytics technology, and thinking about the software's purpose highlights why this might be. Namely, BI is designed to improve decisions, and there is no company in the world that couldn't do with some surety and direction when it comes to determining a wise course of action. This is probably the fact that has kept BI in the headlines for the past few years as new features have debuted and the technology has rolled out across an increasing number of important and influential verticals, even those that aren't usually early adopters of IT breakthroughs.

The real effects on real estate
A recent Globe St. interview with IT field insider Justin Alanis indicated that there is a certain urgency surrounding real estate firms' adoption of analytics. Without this software, Alanis warned, companies could find themselves behind the curve and unable to keep up with rivals that went ahead and made the investment. The actual use of the BI software will not be limited to a few professional roles, either. Alanis told the source that adoption will be widespread, with professionals throughout the corporate structure each taking on some functions, differentiated by role.

Some individuals will be more interested in granular information and others will take the log view. Alanis explained that this will depend on the role. A company's CEO will want to understand where that firm stands in all its markets at that moment. The individuals responsible for certain territories will be more interested in any information that directly impacts them. Alanis noted this division of roles becomes much easier if there is a dashboard for every individual. He advised that this method ensures there are no key variables missing, which may happen if project managers decide to only create one dashboard that suits everyone.

Serving themselves
This differentiated approach to BI usability is a classic self-service example. Every employee is presented with a series of visual tools that suits his or her unique perspective and needs, clearing away the need for an antiquated model in which a few IT workers were the arbiters of all BI processes, trying to split their time between all the many requests coming in. Products such as Necto 14 are critical in these situations, giving leaders the tools they need to set every worker up with access to ideal dashboards. Whether selling properties or anything else, BI can help teams determine if their tactics are on-point.

Unlocking new data sources hinges on analytics excellence

Organizations around the world are interested in becoming more data-driven and advancing with respect to the most recent developments in information collection and use. This type of advancement has become a hit in the IT media, with publications and researchers constantly delving into new ways to plumb data's depths. Trends in the technology sphere are never really independent of one another, and that holds true in this case. From mobile devices to cloud computing to the collection and use of big data, everything is tied together – and that brings thinkers back to BI, a classic method of information analysis that informed all the later trends.

IoT ties into analytics
The Internet of Things is a big deal because it takes the digital-age concept of connectivity well beyond its existing parameters. When everyday items are feeding information to a central system, anything is measurable. According to TechTarget, however, all of this promise is wrapped up in the existing concept of analytics. Firms without solid ways into their data will gain little from the new wave of sensors and scanners, and those with intuitive analysis will be the main beneficiaries. The source urged leaders to remember that information needs inspection to become more than a burden.

TechTarget indicated that there is potential for organizations to quickly fall out of love with their IoT investments because they are giving too much attention to how they are going to get their hands on data from new objects in their environments and aren't focusing enough on drawing meaningful insight from the assembled facts and figures. While ignoring the first component is definitely a mistake, leaving out the second creates no benefits for firms' investment, and in today's competitive marketplaces, it is always important to prove that a chance has paid off in the form of visible value. Improved decisions via analytics deliver that validation.

The BI field
Some businesses working their way toward the new world of analytics may not have any effective BI at the moment. Fortunately, they don't have to endure in this condition. There are many offerings on the market that give companies a helpful view of their own operations and markets and help them become data-driven in fundamental ways. These are products such as Necto 14, which includes the ability to interact with large new sources of content. As fields of all types change their operational standards, it's potentially devastating for organizations to cling to outdated methodologies.

Business intelligence is now present throughout company structures

It may be time for leaders without business intelligence solutions in place to question what is preventing them from making the jump. The idea has been around for decades and received several amendments in recent years – the addition of everything from big data compatibility to mobile access. Equipped with these newly powerful solutions, companies can answer their pressing performance questions and potentially outmaneuver the other members of their industries. In fact, firms that do not become adopters soon could find that their rivals have made the jump and end up behind, still making choices through the intuition of a few leaders rather than data.

Everyone's a data user
According to Enterprise Apps Today, BI is not just expanding to new companies, it is reaching all levels within businesses. This means that the dream of self-service BI is coming to pass. The source noted that research in early 2013 found that there was little penetration of BI into departments outside of a select few IT users, but that has changed. The new source comes from BARC, and Enterprise Apps Today explained that this latest survey detected 55 percent of respondents are now self-service BI users and 24 percent are on their way. Reaching more than half of employees is a tipping point.

The further self-service concepts go in business, the better the results can be. After all, having just a few employees perform their own analytics relieves a little pressure from IT departments. Having them all doing so is a natural progression, one that can transform a company. Enterprise Apps Today explained that one way to make this change possible is to ramp up the amount of visual dashboards on offer. Moving BI beyond the subject matter experts is easier when the tools are easy to use and read, providing a glimpse of trends and patterns that is comprehensible by any properly prepared user.

Time to shift
The idea that users not employing trends such as self-service are behind the curve may be worrying for those individuals. Thankfully, there are a few simple products that can resolve the situation and deliver many advanced capabilities at once. These are the tools such as Necto 14, which has been developed to both include custom views for employees in different departments and present those dashboards on a variety of screen types to ensure there is as little delay as possible between discovering a question in need of answering and getting a data-informed insight that will help resolve it.