Within the last few years, business intelligence has changed significantly. In the past, organizations required a strong data warehousing infrastructure with resources to develop and maintain data models, create OLAP cubes, and deliver reports. Aside from analysts who possessed the skills to use multi-dimensional analytical tools, employees could consume reports or use adhoc prompts to get more customized information. Broad consumption remained possible with end user interactivity being limited. In essence, despite the large investments required to deploy BI, the number of employees actually benefiting from business intelligence remained few. Consequently, the cost benefit analysis always remained the same – BI might be essential but its benefits were limited. Overall, the resources required to maintain, to develop, and to support the BI infrastructure were expansive, with few people able to interact with the solution.
With technology advancements, social media, increased interactivity, and customer demands for low cost and quick implementations, the way BI is offered and deployed is changing. Most organizations will no longer adopt solutions that cannot be implemented with relative ease and provide value across the organization. Those with current mature solutions in-house try to make what they have work. Traditional BI solutions have a broad range of features and functionality that may outdo best of breed counterparts, but come at a cost. This cost includes the time to implement changes and the lack of ease of use and interactivity. Therefore changes that occur require a lot of backend development and maintenance, which is not realistic for mid-sized businesses or those organizations that require dynamic solutions that require constant changes.
The real changes in business intelligence occur within organizations that are implementing BI for the first time. These companies are looking for quick time to value. What this means might differ within each business, but essentially the traditional models no longer work. The new BI means self-service with high levels of interactivity, strong visualizations, and less overall maintenance requirements. Add to this new deployment methods such as BI in the cloud and mobile computing, and BI becomes more flexible, and the new BI becomes more dynamic and flexible to meet the needs of companies with employees on the go.
Aside from changing organizational needs, solution providers are offering solutions that are more dynamic and that can be more widely deployed across the organization. Moving forward, these shifts will only continue. Solution providers will provide increasing levels of self-service solutions that can be deployed in the way businesses want to meet their needs more quickly. More flexibility means that businesses will be able to tie their BI use into ROI and create more valuable BI use across the organization.
About the Author
Lyndsay Wise is an industry analyst for business intelligence. For over seven years, she has assisted clients in business systems analysis, software selection and implementation of enterprise applications. Lyndsay is the channel expert for BI for the Mid-Market at B-eye-Network and conducts research of leading technologies, products and vendors in business intelligence, marketing performance management, master data management, and unstructured data. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. And please visit Lyndsay's blog at myblog.wiseanalytics.com.
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