Business Intelligence Blog from arcplan
26Jan/152

Gaining the Edge over Competitors with Business Intelligence

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First let me start off by defining Business Intelligence as defined by Business Journal International Weekly. “Business Intelligence is a set of theories, methodologies, processes, architectures and technologies that transform raw data into meaningful and useful information for business purposes.” Over the past 10 years business intelligence has soured in popularity to what is now, a $15.8B a year business, with an estimated 55 percent of companies today using some form of Business Intelligence or Business Analytics solutions. According to Gartner, “by the year 2020 researchers show an estimated 75% of companies globally will rely on Business Intelligence to run their companies.” Who would have thought this number would get so high? Continue reading this post>>

12Dec/130

Business Intelligence Trends 2014: Why Apple, Amazon and Google are the Real BI Trend-Setters

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bi-trends-2014-apple-amazon_smThe end of each year warrants a look at the key trends that may take hold in the coming months. Mobility, cloud computing, bring-your-own-device (BYOD), and big data topics are clearly influencing the business intelligence industry. However, major market players such as Amazon, Apple, Google, Samsung and others are producing the technology to make these developments possible. The question becomes: are the trends paving the way for these companies to produce the technology, or is the existence of the technology influencing the trends? I believe the latter – that Amazon, Apple, Google and Samsung are the true pioneers of the BI industry.

In 2014, we’re not going to see much in the way of wholly new trends, even though some experts are already forecasting more innovations. Gartner, for example, has singled out voice-controlled BI as a hot topic. However, the idea of being able to control BI processes by voice instead of through user interfaces is more of a fantasy than a realistic business requirement. Instead, the focus for 2014 will be on developments that are already possible and how to integrate these into the corporate IT environment. Big data for one has been a subject of discussion for years. In 2014, there will be more talk about the benefits and value provided by the increasingly larger amounts of data. Primarily though, it is the underlying technical innovations created by industry giants such as Amazon and Apple that are driving the development of BI and the requirements of the market.

Mobile BI Thanks to Tablets and Smartphones

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12Dec/120

Business Intelligence Trends 2013: The Breakthrough of Do It Yourself BI and the Breakup of Big Data

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arcplan recently examined the trends that will shape the BI landscape in 2013 – self-service BI, collaboration, and mobile BI. Under the umbrella of Do It Yourself BI (DIY BI), these trends will come to the forefront and big data will lose steam. It might be controversial to say, but we have our reasons.

Enterprises are demanding an increased focus on cost reductions and customer profitability – typically under business users’ purview – which constantly impacts the development of BI as business users are driving future trends. In 2013, business users will demand easier ways to access and analyze data, pushing their employers to purchase the self-service tools that BI vendors have been developing over the past few years and leading to a true breakthrough of DIY BI. Beyond that, the big data challenge has not yet been solved with an easy-to-digest solution, causing a lot of the hype to die down next year (for good reason). Let’s examine these trends further:

DIY BI Part I: Self-Service BI
In the past, BI was limited to a few expert analysts and users in the IT department. No doubt it has come a long way since. More and more BI users are taking over tasks traditionally dominated by IT developers, such as report development, dashboard creation, and ad-hoc reporting. In fact, Forrester Research advocates that 80% of BI tasks should be in the hands of business users themselves – and these business users need easy-to-use interfaces, programming-free BI app creation, the ability to search, write-back and drill-down, and data exploration capabilities.

In 2013, the delays associated with IT will be brushed aside in favor of the speed, control, and rapid access that comes along with self-service BI. The demand will increase for modern ad-hoc tools that allow users to directly tap the corporate data warehouse and provide a high degree of flexibility to slice-and-dice the data for insight on the fly. In-memory technology, advanced visualizations, and the broader emergence of HTML5 will support developers in creating multifaceted web-based apps that run on any device via a standard web browser and offer simple, intuitive self-service features every type of user can enjoy. Users will become more self-sufficient in 2013, able to get the information they need in order to optimize and accelerate their decision making processes.

DIY BI Part II: Collaboration

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13Jul/120

3 Ways Self-Service BI Aids Decision-Making

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There’s a lot of talk about expanding the reach of business intelligence beyond the 15-25% of potential users currently using BI solutions. Certainly it’s one of our core missions at arcplan. With nearly everyone in an organization making decisions every day that affect the company, getting this remaining 75% of potential users to answer their business questions with data is imperative. The solution is self-service BI – tools that allow users to navigate and visualize data themselves to get the answers they need to make important business decisions on their timeline. In many ways, self-service BI is synonymous with user freedom since business users need not wait for the IT department to fulfill report requests, but instead are able to generate queries on their own and tailor reports according to their requirements.

We spent some time thinking about the ways self-service aids decision-making. Check out our list and let us know if you have more to add to it!

1) It gives users access to real-time information for faster decision-making.
Ad-hoc reporting, one of the tools under the self-service umbrella, allows users to create new connections between data not previously found in static reports and generate new insights on their own. According to Cindi Howson’s report, The Five Myths of Self-Service BI, executives and managers are a segment of users beyond power users and IT developers who derive value from ad-hoc reporting. If given the chance, a sales director for instance would use an easy ad-hoc solution like arcplan Spotlight to run a query of YTD product sales and compare performance across different regions, rather than wait a week or more for IT to deliver the same information to him. He could also save that query privately or publish it publicly, giving his entire team access to it for future reference. He could even select that report for automatic delivery via e-mail, where it will include the most updated data. The ability to access real-time data and create new reports on the fly means that business users get immediate answers to business questions and can make decisions based on current (versus outdated) information.

2) It addresses specific user needs for greater efficiency.
Self-service tools target the specific needs of users, allowing them to glean the most value out their BI and enabling more efficient decision-making…

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8Jun/120

5 Reasons Why Collaborative BI is Practical For Your Organization

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Though Collaborative BI is still new, it’s gaining traction, with 15% of BI deployments to include collaborative elements by 2013 according to Gartner. A recent survey by author and analyst Wayne Eckerson revealed many BI professionals believe that collaboration tools have a positive impact on analysis and decision-making activities. So while some in the BI world are seeing its value, the others may appreciate our list of 5 reasons why Collaborative BI could be a practical solution for your organization if you’re trying to expand the reach of BI to more users and get closer to “one version of the truth.”

1) Collaborative BI solutions are designed for every type of user, even the most casual. They allow business users, executives, and managers to access the reports and dashboards created by power users and IT, which a) extends the reach of these often under-used analyses and 2)  means putting information into the hands of more people in the organization who can benefit from data in their decision-making process.

2) Collaborative BI provides a sanity check for your BI content. Is it relevant and accurate? Let the wisdom of the crowd decide. Report utilization statistics help your BI Competency Center and IT department determine which reports should be kept and maintained and which can be archived. Only the best content rises to the top.

3) Collaborative BI solutions engage users in ways they are already familiar with from Web 2.0 sites (Facebook, Amazon, Twitter, etc), so they need little to no training to make use of the system…

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