Bi and analytics industry climate research
Business’ focus on business intelligence (BI) and analytics is set to continue at an increasing rate.
The benefits of fact-based decision-making are clear to global business managers across disciplines: finance, risk management, marketing, sales, supply chain management, manufacturing, retail, media, HR, etc.
Major changes are happening in the world of BI as discovery techniques, use of real-time event data and increased spending in BI and analytics as big data matures. Further the cost of acquiring, storing and managing data is falling. Companies are finding it practical to apply BI and analytics in a far wider range of situations
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Management and Control
We read a lot about best practice and predicted advances in BI and Analytics but what is actually happening right now in business. We asked members of the Business Intelligence Leadership Forum* to comment on the changing world of BI and analytics from their own, home-grown perspectives. In particular we asked them to focus on areas of success, those that are posing challenge, areas of opportunity, and future vision. Let’s take a look at the common points of interest.
With the rise (and rise) of digital technologies, the internet of things, big data etc., companies have access to data, and commonly vast datasets, on every aspect of their business. The traditional roles of BI practitioners are therefore changing. 11 of the 12 companies involved in this discussion confirmed that within their businesses they are experiencing change in BI and analytics roles. The biggest change is the diversity and range of roles associated with BI and analytics – now encompassing a business wide focus.
Alignment of BI and analytics closely with business – most businesses now have a central shared services with cross-function of IT and business.Aim to be more customer focused
Aim to be more data driven, and
Adaptation to technology advances.
The successes of the growth and change in the BI and analytics arena were unanimously seen as:
Changes comes not without challenge. Data is only strategic if it’s analysed, understood, and actionable throughout the enterprise. Unlocking the value of data and transforming it into insights to power decision-making requires particular skillsets and knowledge. Importantly skillsets that are well coordinated across the business for strategic alignment.
While business alignment is unanimously viewed as important (vital), many businesses are finding this is not necessarily easily realised (fully or at all) and while many CMOs, CIOs and CFO’s pay lip service to the value of alignment, there is often a lack of actual support most commonly caused by:
This lack of actual business/finance/IT alignment leads to a variety of pain points:Distrust between business/finance/IT
Logjams in transforming insights into profitable business actions
Lack of funding and or operational alignment
Focus on tools vs business solutions
According to Gartner 2015 will see 25 percent of large global organisations appointing CDOs with a view to gain much needed company-wide alignment for BI and analytics value. We found CDOs are appearing more rapidly in some industries than in others. Banking, government and insurance are the first three industries to adopt the CDO role and in that order. However, we are now seeing other industries following. From our discussions we also predict the CDO will evolve into a broader role: the chief analytics officer (CAO).
Other commonly reported challenges included:How to be forward looking when faced with BAU pressures
Maintaining metadata and governance to keep pace with huge increases in volume and service levels
Ability to run with projects early for market lead is challenging (for most)
Parts of team highly innovative and dynamic while others can’t keep up
Maintaining competitive agility
Alignment of BI and analytics outcomes to KPIs
With BI reporting now well established the expressed need among businesses is to move forward with innovation to truly realise the value of BI and advanced analytics and maintain a competitive advantage. Businesses are looking to tap structured and unstructured data the hidden business truths that can revitalise an organisation’s bottom line. Innovation, innovation councils etc. are certainly buzz topics though the discussions in this forum were more around the interest in innovation versus great examples of innovation occurring in business. While there were some notable exceptions, particularly in banking, innovation is an issue to be resolved (time/funding) as a key to the link between business and IT.
Other unanimous themes for the future were:Need to create partnership roles to add value to all stakeholders i.e.: collaboration is key
Prioritising Business Intelligence Competency Centre (BICC) to align business and BI/analytics
Maintaining a focus on ‘what’s next’ for business
Mobilising innovation through enterprise architecture and change management
Maturing deep analytics strategies for big data to derive business value
Interestingly when discussing the current and future use of cloud services, while all our participants agreed it is here to stay and obviously there are cost benefits to this option, businesses are cautious in uptake (particularly among financial services). Businesses are embracing all on offer in the fast paced world of BI and advanced analytics and are set to continue in this mindset. It would appear the next step in cementing the business value that can be gained from strategic use of data is a business wide culture of support from the top to ensure innovation takes hold and propels us into the new levels of competitive advantage. Whether a company goes down the CDO, CAO path or not, it is clear alignment from c-level across all divisions and business units is the way of the future in compounding the successes already taking place and meeting challenges head on.