Four Words Of Advice For 2017

Andreas Krause

Are you tired of reading 2017 analyst and vendor BI predictions yet?

I know I am. There should be a name for IT prediction fatigue at this time of year.

BI seems to be having its very own recurring Groundhog Day—except it’s year after year. Same problems, same tensions, and all triggered by the same pressures (some with updated labels), and predictions of more strain between business users, IT, and analysts. If you’ve been in the industry a long time—or even a short time—you know what I’m talking about. (By the way, if you want some funny and cynical BI predictions, check out “A Cynic’s Guide To BI in 2017” – well worth a read.)

I’m an optimist at heart, but even I have to admit that in practical terms, BI is in chaos. Every time the business needs grow, so does the data, and inevitably, so do the number of tools and data sources. It’s something I see time and again. The number of SAP BI instances I’ve seen in companies ranges from 2 to 100!

In terms of its implementation, BI as a whole is now so fragmented that it’s impeding analytics initiatives. Multiple instances actually end up costing the company more money and more time, clouding insight and increasing risk – the very problem BI is supposed to be addressing in the first place. If this continues, it’s in danger of becoming ca parody of itself.

Rather than pretending to have a crystal ball and predicting what will or won’t happen this year, I’d like to suggest an alternative (in the spirit of a new year, let’s call it a resolution). Four words of advice: Go back to basics.

By that, I mean fix the fundamentals—things like your data quality, for example. I know it’s not sexy, but trust me, it’s necessary. Rationalise what you’ve got and then standardise on one version of it. I know it’s still winter, but seriously people, it’s time for some spring cleaning.

I’m not suggesting you forego functionality, such as self-serve access, etc., but strip out unnecessary complexity (which in practical terms usually means reducing redundancies and inconsistencies in your BI landscape). Once you clear out of your BI closet, you’ll be amazed at the results. According to our benchmarks, customers who do this are typically able to lower their spending on BI by 36%, and see a 41% increase in higher usage of BI to manage business processes and a whopping 86% employee uptake of analytical information from BI tools.

There’s also another benefit of getting your BI house in order: Simplifying your landscape helps to boost your security and reduce cyberrisks. The more complex your IT environment is, the easier it is for something important to get overlooked, underestimated, or compromised.

Regardless of what your BI plans are for the year ahead, make it your mantra to centralise and simplify. It will help you shake off your IT hangover, clear out the chaos, and transform your BI practice for the better.

For more information on simplifying your BI, check out the infographic here.

Andreas Krause

About Andreas Krause

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