Business Intelligence: Get Schooled

By: Becky Bracken

Now is the time to get some smarts. Not just gut-check business instincts, but real-time, actionable data that can inform every aspect of the business from network operations to marketing, finance, human resources and beyond. Every C-level executive is getting all up in the nitty-gritty technology of the business—and that's a very good thing. Business Intelligence isn't something you can get it at Wharton. Only your customers, your product and your services can take you to school and help make even the most routine day-to-day decisions matter. You only need to know where and how to look.

Ever tried to examine a soccer field through a drinking straw? Sure, you can see what's going on right in front of you, but the rest of the field might as well not exist. That's the unfavorable vantage point CSP managers have been limited to up until recently. Marketing Directors watch KPIs. CTOs watch performance. CFOs watch revenues and the bottom line. But none of these exist without the other, and the ebb and flow of the performance of each in relation to the others tells a bigger story. A holistic view of the business is the goal and once achieved it empowers CSP leadership to fine tune the operation for max success.

According to Gartner Research, "the BI platform market is forecast to have grown into a $14.1 billion market in 2013, largely through companies investing in IT-led consolidation projects to standardize on IT-centric BI platforms for large-scale systems-of-record reporting." But while analytic tools continue to be deployed, they aren't really being fully embraced by the majority of business users, managers and analysts, Gartner found in its research. Why? The simplest reason of all: too difficult to use. But as big data analytics becomes more common to everyday business, CIOs are starting to see the real potential of harnessing all of that business data. The CIO focus on business intelligence (BI) and analytics is set to continue through 2017, according to Gartner, which makes the following predictions about the BI market:
  1. By 2015, the majority of BI vendors will make data discovery their prime BI platform offering, shifting BI emphasis from reporting-centric to analysis-centric.

  2. By 2017, more than 50 percent of analytics implementations will make use of event data streams generated from instrumented machines, applications and/or individuals.

  3. By 2017, analytic applications offered by software vendors will be indistinguishable from analytic applications offered by service providers.

  4. Until 2016, big data confusion will constrain spending on BI and analytics software to single-digit growth.

"Major changes are imminent to the world of BI and analytics including the dominance of data discovery techniques, wider use of real-time streaming event data and the eventual acceleration in BI and analytics spending when big data finally matures," said Roy Schulte, vice president and distinguished analyst at Gartner. "As the cost of acquiring, storing and managing data continues to fall, companies are finding it practical to apply BI and analytics in a far wider range of situations."


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