Business Intelligence (BI) is changing. In the past, BI was used mainly by company executives, providing them with monthly/yearly reports on various aspects of the company. Using this data, executives could formulate company plans and strategies.
While BI is still a vital piece of the planning and decision making process, this idea of “traditional BI” is quickly fading. As the workforce becomes more mobile, BI is moving outside the confines of the office. Modern business leaders demand real-time BI that’s always accessible–from anywhere at any time using any device. They demand BI that gets the right information into the right hands precisely when it’s needed.
1. Mobile BI
In the future, Business Intelligence will not be limited by device or location. It will be cross-platform, offering instant access from all smartphones and tablets.
Now, mobile BI goes a step beyond simply building separate mobile apps for smartphones and tablets. It involves creating BI apps that adapt to the device on which they’re accessed. Take this Business Intelligence app for example. It looks like a PC application when accessed on a PC, but looks completely different (yet native) when accessed on a tablet or smartphone. While it looks different everywhere, there’s only one underlying application. Why will mobile BI take this web-based approach instead of the native app route? Simple: It makes more business sense.
2. Cloud BI
Most analysts and researchers seem to agree on one point: The cloud is the future, even though current adoption is slow. Business Intelligence on the cloud promises near 100% uptime and scalability without all the time and money required to maintain in-house hardware. However, security is still a big concern for many companies, who don’t trust cloud providers with their private data. As a result, I believe we’ll see a rise in private cloud BI deployments.
3. Collaborative BI
As we learned from the rise of social media, the internet is the perfect collaboration platform. This concept translates seamlessly to Business Intelligence. For example, what if you could add comments and interact with other co-workers directly within a BI application? What if you could share ideas or point out interesting trends found in the data? This will soon be a reality, as collaboration options will quickly become default features of BI applications.
4. Self service BI
End users are tired of waiting on the IT department to deliver the BI applications they need. As mentioned in this article, end users are now bypassing the IT department altogether to get what they want. To stop users from using outside services, IT departments will have no choice but to deliver self-service BI options that let users create the BI applications they require. This process either involves giving users the development tools to create their own applications, or simply creating a variety of canned reports for end users.
5. Embedded BI
While traditional BI is typically a standalone product, embedded BI integrates analytics and reporting capabilities directly into your everyday business applications. Essentially, embedded BI brings BI to the end users, working it into their daily routine. This approach is far simpler for users, and can lead to better user adoption.
While the world is full of prognosticators, does anyone truly know how technology will evolve over the next few years? No. For that reason, agility is a necessary element to any good BI solution. The ability to incorporate new tech improvements and capabilities into your existing applications on the fly is absolutely essential.
While I’m sure there are more BI trends, I believe the trends listed above will have a major impact on the BI landscape in the very near future. Of course, if you can add any trends to that list, I’d love to hear them in the comments.