The evolving scope of Business Intelligence
In the current market, every organization is facing stiff competition, demand for operational efficiency and business productivity. Organizations are becoming innovative in their approach to making business truly performance-driven at strategic, tactical as well as operational levels. In this prospect, Business Intelligence (BI) can help businesses promote their competitive edge with better tools to discover, distribute and analyze metrics, and turn data into actionable insights while accessing new data about the competition.
BI is evolving in every industry. The scope has expanded to more than just a set of standard, SQL-based reports. Here I talk about four changes that have advanced BI into a self-service, graphical, collaborating world.
1. Today, BI is no longer exclusively owned and managed by IT.
This is an optimistic change as it lets the business take an active role in BI procedures and practices. With various desktop BI tools such as Tableau, Tibco Spotfire, and SAP Crystal Reports, it is now possible for users to have all the capabilities on their desktops, which were previously limited to the enterprise-level toolsets. These tools have given users more flexibility to discover and realize how new reports should be generated and organized at the enterprise level.
2. New, powerful BI tools washes out the paradigm of confining users to the reports they have been given.
In many organizations, users now have the facility to explore raw data and create valuable reports. Of course, there are still limits on how many system resources a user can consume and security settings still ensure users can only access data for which they have permission. However, it is definitely going to help users experiment with raw data, metrics, and create a new view of data leading to new innovations.
3. The outbreak of advanced visualizations and dashboards have also transformed the landscape.
The variety of graphics available has gone well beyond the standard tables, bar graphs, and pie charts. In addition, traditionally where graphics used to be mostly static or drill-down enabled, now graphics/charts can be linked together so the users can interact with the data in real time. For example, clicking on one country in a map might automatically filter the data on all other components of a report to reflect only the information of that country. This flexibility enables faster insights.
4. BI tools are no longer limited to only customary SQL logic.
Many BI tools like Tableau include more advanced analytics such as predictive modeling algorithms. The growing use of NoSQL processes via platforms such as Hadoop and Teradata has changed the scenario. These NoSQL platforms have increased the types of processing that can be applied to raw data before it is passed to users via a BI tool. BI process can now include complex and iterative programming. This widening of the scope of analytic processing increases the possibilities that can be explored.
Considering all these changes, modern business intelligence landscape seems much more advanced than it used to be, blurring the line between the roles of IT and business users. As deep analytic tools are enhancing their capabilities in reporting, visualizations and dashboards, reporting tools continue to add deeper analytics.
At first, this evolution can be bewildering, but the businesses who go ahead making themselves comfortable with the new realm instead of resisting it will find it well worth their while. To realize the impact of new methods of doing things, organizations need to experience them by adopting.