01 June 2011

Top tends in BI arena

I thought I’d share a few of my thoughts on the trends and technologies that are part of my daily life these days. From what I see in the market, the expectation from BI has changed significantly over the past few years. Now all size of companies are looking at investing in BI. They expect to spend less, get more ROI, more data accessibility, more insight into different levels of the business, more flexibility, and quicker response to the ever-changing business requirements.

Agile BI

Traditional waterfall design and development methodologies are too slow and too inflexible for BI. Many companies are now considering Agile for their BI implementations.
But don’t misinterpret what I am calling “Agile BI”, it’s not just about the Agile software development methodology, which is nothing new. IMHO Agile development by itself is not enough for BI, I think a different approach, technologies, and mindset are required to make BI more flexible
An agile software development process doesn't necessarily lead to agile BI, though it will speed up some steps in the process. The technology and processes (e.g. change management process) has to be made more flexible to really achieve agility.
Forrester defines Agile business intelligence as: An approach that combines processes, methodologies, organizational structure, tools, and technologies that enable strategic, tactical, and operational decision-makers to be more flexible and more responsive to the fast pace of changes to business and regulatory requirements.

Collaborative/social BI

Intelligence = Information + People

Collaboration and business intelligence have never been separated, but companies are just recently beginning to realize the benefits of the connection.

By introducing collaborative technologies to their business intelligence platform, companies are better positioned to utilize and take advantage of their employee data.

Collaboration is now becoming an essential part of the business intelligence. It enables crowdsourcing and in general the wisdom of the crowds tend to produce better decisions as organizations become increasingly complex.

Self-service BI

Let the business do it by themselves!
IT is always under one step behind from ever-changing business needs. The concept of self-service BI is to provide capabilities to enable business users exploring data and build their own reports. it may also enable analysts to publish and distribute their work to others.
Used in this way, the visual discovery tools become a nice tool for super users to create web-based reports and dashboards for colleagues. These reports are not static; they are “live” and interactive so casual users can analyse data just as business analysts would without the hassle of starting from scratch.

Predictive Analytics

"Predictive Analytics" is to analyse current and historical facts to make predictions about future events.

More and more vendors are attempting to make it more accessible to information workers and others without advanced degrees in statistics.
Data mining used to be mostly used by large enterprises (e.g. Banks) but these days I see companies in different sizes are started getting benefit from that.
There is also a trend in using social network data in data mining. It can be used to determine the trend, behaviour analysis and reduce customer churn.