Business Intelligence Trends 2013: The Breakthrough of Do It Yourself BI and the Breakup of Big Databy Markus Gisske
arcplan recently examined the trends that will shape the BI landscape in 2013 – self-service BI, collaboration, and mobile BI. Under the umbrella of Do It Yourself BI (DIY BI), these trends will come to the forefront and big data will lose steam. It might be controversial to say, but we have our reasons.
Enterprises are demanding an increased focus on cost reductions and customer profitability – typically under business users’ purview – which constantly impacts the development of BI as business users are driving future trends. In 2013, business users will demand easier ways to access and analyze data, pushing their employers to purchase the self-service tools that BI vendors have been developing over the past few years and leading to a true breakthrough of DIY BI. Beyond that, the big data challenge has not yet been solved with an easy-to-digest solution, causing a lot of the hype to die down next year (for good reason). Let’s examine these trends further:
DIY BI Part I: Self-Service BI
In the past, BI was limited to a few expert analysts and users in the IT department. No doubt it has come a long way since. More and more BI users are taking over tasks traditionally dominated by IT developers, such as report development, dashboard creation, and ad-hoc reporting. In fact, Forrester Research advocates that 80% of BI tasks should be in the hands of business users themselves – and these business users need easy-to-use interfaces, programming-free BI app creation, the ability to search, write-back and drill-down, and data exploration capabilities.
In 2013, the delays associated with IT will be brushed aside in favor of the speed, control, and rapid access that comes along with self-service BI. The demand will increase for modern ad-hoc tools that allow users to directly tap the corporate data warehouse and provide a high degree of flexibility to slice-and-dice the data for insight on the fly. In-memory technology, advanced visualizations, and the broader emergence of HTML5 will support developers in creating multifaceted web-based apps that run on any device via a standard web browser and offer simple, intuitive self-service features every type of user can enjoy. Users will become more self-sufficient in 2013, able to get the information they need in order to optimize and accelerate their decision making processes.
DIY BI Part II: Collaboration
It’s that time of year again – when we invite students in the DACH region (Germany, Austria, and Switzerland) to create innovative BI applications for a chance at our 15,000€ prize fund! We’re looking for university-level computing and economics students to create outstanding analytics and planning solutions on the arcplan 7 platform that solve real business pains. Students can apply individually or in groups in three categories:
- Innovation: applications that are novel in their visualization, methodology, or technical approach
- Fast Mover: solutions that have been developed in a short time span or can be deployed quickly
- Business Excellence: applications that aim to improve the quality of business decisions
Each winner, selected by a jury of industry and media experts, will receive 5,000€. Last year’s winners will be presenting their solutions at our arc|planet user conference in October. Winners of the 2013 competition will also get this invaluable exposure to DACH companies at next year’s arc|planet.
Entrants should be as creative as possible, developing solutions such as management cockpits, web-based analysis and reporting applications, balanced scorecards, or anything in between. There’s just one condition: projects must be developed during the period from September 1, 2012 to February 28, 2013 as part of an ongoing study program or college-related internship.
Cost efficiency, flexibility, and availability of data are key advantages of cloud business intelligence
This year, cloud computing is set to dominate CeBIT, the international IT and telecommunications trade fair held each year near arcplan’s headquarters in Germany. According to a recent survey by the analyst firm IDC, cloud computing will account for 10% of global IT expenditure by the year 2013. While we have taken advantage of cloud offerings in our private lives without hesitation for years (just think of Google Maps and Gmail), businesses have only been comfortable with a few applications (like CRM) residing in the cloud. Many companies still have doubts when it comes to shifting applications into the cloud when security is critical, as it is with business intelligence. Concerns over data security breaches and their consequences are holding some businesses back; however, the advantages of cloud-based BI clearly outweigh the potential drawbacks. Here are our most important reasons for moving business intelligence applications into the cloud.
Cost efficiency is key
Among the greatest advantages of cloud BI are cost savings and reduced capital commitment. Upgrades, maintenance and administration of on-premise software are time-consuming and costly. If companies shift their BI solutions into the cloud, they will no longer have to budget for large, up-front purchases of software packages or carry out time-consuming updates on local servers. In the cloud, upgrades are installed directly by the service provider in near real-time. Using any kind of device (desktop computer, laptop, tablet PC, or smartphone), employees can access the most recent version of their BI solution, independent of location and without having to download upgrades or request updates from the IT department. Users can therefore focus completely on data consumption and analysis, getting the most from BI without having to deal with the infrastructure.
Large- and small-scale flexibility
Companies that manage their own BI systems on-premise have invested in their infrastructure to deal with ever-increasing quantities of data. To analyze data volumes amounting to petabytes or even exabytes and have a 360-degree view of data in real-time, immense processing power and extremely large amounts of memory are required. For processor-intensive BI applications, solutions running in-house can quickly reach their limits. This makes another of cloud BI’s advantages clear: the enormous flexibility afforded by cloud software deployment.
2011 is rapidly winding down, and we’re talking to a lot of customers who are currently planning their BI initiatives for 2012. The New Year brings resolutions, personal and professional, so we’ve taken stock of what we’re hearing and put together this list of our recommendations for resolutions your company should consider to optimize your BI in 2012. Are we right? What others are on your schedule for next year?
Resolution 1: Information Access for Everyone
BI for the masses – it’s a thought some think is far off in the distance, but actually, many of our customers are making the move in 2012. Since decisions are being made by everyone from CEOs to line-level employees, companies need to consider opening information access up beyond a small group of power-users. Employees who can’t write reports can still analyze them and make use of the data to make better decisions. Take stock of your existing BI systems in 2012 and determine if removing restrictions would benefit your company’s performance.
Resolution 2: Collaboration Tools – the Key to Success
How do employees determine what BI reports are useful and what reports are garbage? How do they make enhancement requests for reports and dashboards, provide feedback to report authors, or share & annotate reports? Collaborative BI solutions not only offer an easy entry-point into BI for the casual user/knowledge worker (since they make it easy for users to search for relevant information), but they also keep statistics about the most- and least-used reports. Solutions like our own arcplan Engage allow users to rate and comment on reports, so their feedback becomes an essential part of the BI process. Collaboration, when it comes to BI, is about adding value to existing information and using it to your company’s advantage.
Resolution 3: Form Follows Function
Last week, our CEO posted an article about his own predictions for BI in 2012. After reading it, I thought about surveying arcplan employees about the trends they see coming to the forefront over the next 12 months. They suggested that the hype around mobile, collaborative, and cloud BI that we saw this year will come to fruition in 2012. We published a press release today that highlights these trends and what we can expect to see next year:
BI Trends 2012 – From Hype to Breakthrough
The market for Business Intelligence (BI) in 2011 was shaped by three much-hyped themes: mobile BI, collaborative BI and cloud BI. While vendors and analysts are driving the buzz around these new technologies, users have thus far hesitated to fully embrace them as they explore what their business benefits might be. Will 2012 be the year that mobile, collaborative and cloud BI go mainstream? Global BI innovator arcplan dares to look into its crystal ball to see what technologies will break through in the coming year.
Mobile BI – Simplified Entry
The hype around mobile BI was clear this year, but did the talk result in concrete implementations? According to The BI Survey 10 from analysts BARC, only 8% of companies using BI software access their reports in mobile form – an astonishingly low number if you consider that mobile BI is being lauded by analysts and the media as the next big thing, and users are clamoring for mobile solutions.
So why hasn’t this hype translated to action yet? So far, Apple has dominated the market for mobile devices with the iPhone and iPad, which are only conditionally compatible with business applications. This will change in 2012 when Microsoft and Phone 7 return to the market with a focus on both the business sector and the consumer market, which will set it apart from Apple. Companies are looking beyond the Apple platform for cost-effective mobile BI solutions, and in 2012, they will encounter Microsoft’s new Metro Design, which will simplify entry into mobile BI tremendously. This concept, fueled by clean typeface and balanced design, can be used on Phone 7 as well as any other mobile device and is well suited for business applications. Furthermore, Web apps – in contrast to native apps – will meet the demand for an efficient entry into the world of mobile business applications. Due to their develop once/deploy anywhere nature, they offer businesses the chance to productively use mobile BI apps on any platform (Apple, Microsoft, Android, etc.) and independent of cumbersome approval processes or other restrictions in manufacturer-controlled app stores.
Collaborative BI – The Democratization of Knowledge
2012 will be the year in which companies realize the promise of collaborative BI when information becomes democratized…