A Cure For The BI Hangover

Andreas Krause

Business intelligence has a hangover – a technology hangover triggered by broken processes and proliferating data volumes. It’s ongoing and it’s painful for everyone.

For years, business users have been asking people like you and me to run analytics reports on increasing volumes of data, sliced in an infinite number of ways and in shorter and shorter timeframes. It’s an unworkable model for lots of reasons, but I’ll limit it to just two for the purposes of this blog.

First, requests from different individuals across various lines of business come with fluctuating levels of clarity about what it is they really want, leaving too much room for miscommunication and frustration on both sides – especially when you’re on the receiving end. And second, even if the business requirements are clear, we all know that with current IT workloads and disparate data sources, it can take a few days to generate a report, by which time it isn’t fit for an instantaneous, hyper-connected, IoT world. The whole model is too time consuming and requires too much effort for a result that may already be irrelevant.

Nobody wants to be a bottleneck. So don’t. Be an innovator instead by showing the business a better way. The sad truth is that many people have greater access to data than ever before, but don’t know what to do with it. More often than not, multiple data sources aren’t being blended together or enriched in any sort of meaningful way.

CIOs and IT management are leading the digital transformation charge, and information – including real-time analytics – is at the heart of it. One recent IDC report found that 81% of decision makers think teams focused on the organization’s digital transformation initiatives would benefit significantly from the ability to run real-time analysis on any data set, and 61% believe digital transformation will increase the strategic position of IT, act as an accelerator for the careers of IT leadership, and provide positive opportunities for new IT leadership roles

Thanks to the pace of technology, it’s now possible to create analytics capabilities so easy that any line of business user can run reports themselves. And by easy, I mean with no input or hand-holding from IT, but rather with automated recommendations on what to ask based on live patterns in the data. After all, live insights from live data enhanced by proactive prompts dramatically improve decision making. And with today’s expectations of a 12-24 month ROI, enabling governed self-service analytics accelerates the time to value.

In my view, this type of modern interface, ease of use, and sophisticated predictive logic will become de rigueur for BI solutions over time.

Putting analytics capabilities in the hands of your business colleagues is a huge game changer – for everyone. Not only are the speed and quality of decisions better, but it also means responsibility for generating reports, dashboards, and visualizations shifts away from your to-do list and over to the business. It proactively helps the business uncover those elusive hidden gems of information and lets business colleagues make real-time decisions on the spot. But perhaps the most appealing aspect from your IT perspective is that it breaks the old BI cycle of “ask, wait, repeat,” puts an end to the tension headache between IT and the business, and lets you get on with the digital transformation of the information infrastructure in your organization

Learn more on the drivers and roadblocks of cloud-based business analytics solution deployments in IDC’s whitepaper “Cloud Business Analytics: A step closer to pervasive adoption of decision support services.”

Andreas Krause

About Andreas Krause

Andreas Krause is head of EMEA Centre of Excellence for BI at SAP, which includes SAP for Cloud Analytics.