The Downward Slide of Business Intelligence

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In 2016, there was a lot of focus on emerging BI trends and the growth of Business Analytics. In 2017, things look a little different. While there are a number of Business Intelligence trends that are stable, the big picture is not as clear as we may have thought. In fact, there seems to be a definite downward slide in BI. Between 2016 and 2017, trends in BI markets have not shown any significant gains. A recent poll which asked 2800 vendors, consultants and users for their opinions on the importance of BI Trends, came up with three main areas of focus; these being data quality management, self-service BI and data recovery.

At the same time, there were a lot of BI trends that showed a huge downward swing. Once the Big Data euphoria had worn off, businesses started to regroup and look at BI in a realistic light. As such, there were a significant number of trends that took a hit in 2017 namely Mobile BI, Visual Design Standards, Real-time Analytics, Agile BI Development and MQ management. We have seen over the past few months that user dissatisfaction of BI continues to plague many corporations. The main concern businesses have is the fact that there is simply too much data, as well as a delay in the production of information. We can add to the list a perception of low quality information as well as a lack of focused or relevant data.

The Pros and Cons of BI

Going back to the basics, Business Intelligence is simply an application to analyse raw data, and when used correctly by developers and analysts it is very useful. But it doesn’t tell businesses how to use data or how relevant data may be. While there are a number of pros to BI like the ability to visualise data quicker, track KPI’s and access information whenever you want, the challenge lies in implementing and processing the information in a way that is not only usable, but more importantly instantly beneficial. This is where the biggest problem lies. Accessing the right information, making it relevant and making it useful.

The cons of BI are vast and can be seen in many mid-level and major corporations. For starters, the cost of BI Management is an issue that has not yet been resolved. Even for companies that use cloud-based and mobile solutions, there are still only a handful of vendors that in the BI industry. If we consider the overages, even a basic package can work out more costly than expected.

Strategic Usage of Big Data

In some instances, multiple BI applications may be needed. In order to maximise Big Data, companies would need to invest in an entire umbrella of services to make BI a more integrated system. Then there are the issues of security, regulations and understanding of BI to consider. Looking at recent statistics we can see that more than 70 per cent of companies claim to be data driven. However, only around 27% of these companies have a clearly defined BI strategy. Those who are using BI are finding that at least 74 per cent are having difficulties actually defining business requirement for analytics.

If Big Data and Business Analytics are to see any momentum toward the end of 2017, there needs to be a greater understanding of the basic functions of BI. Businesses need to go back to the beginning and calculate the value of the data from the start. Companies that are finding problems too big to fix or correction process to difficult, must focus on developing a company-wide data governance strategy. If current issues persist, there is a danger that BI will lose its efficacy all together and be seen as white elephant for major corporations.

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