How to Avoid a Loveless Business Intelligence Relationship

How to Avoid a Loveless Business Intelligence Relationship

Anyone who's seen the most recent Business Intelligence and Analytics MQ report from Gartner would probably agree that conditions are ripe for a major shakeup in the $71 billion BI industry. 

Legacy business intelligence software has been around for decades and still has failed to make data more accessible for front-line business people. In fact, employees wait for weeks — or months in some cases — for teams of data experts to build and curate reports that answer their data questions. Can you imagine waiting that long as a consumer? So why is the bar so much lower in the workplace?

This year Gartner moved almost every vendor out of the MQ leaders quadrant and created an entirely new category for legacy BI vendors called enterprise-based reporting platforms.

The arrival of modern BI platforms on the scene promises to once-and-for-all eliminate the analytics bottleneck. These tools aim to streamline decision making by giving front-line business people direct access to their data with the usability we’ve all come to expect of consumer technologies.

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Modern BI software poses a real threat to the continued existence of legacy BI vendors, but these legacy vendors continue to make the same promises of usability and ease of access to data that have been made for years.  

Before giving your legacy BI vendor another chance, ask if they can deliver on the four key capabilities of modern BI — preparing data for analysis without ETL, automatic and optimal organization of data in-memory, self-service report development and end-user report refinement. If the answer is no, it’s time to make the change that puts the power in the hands of your front-line business users.

BI professionals spend up to 90 percent of their time just building and maintaining ETL processes. Most business intelligence tools were designed decades ago for a much simpler data environment and haven’t kept up with the rapidly evolving enterprise data landscape. 

Data experts are stuck transforming data to fit into a specific schema (like a star schema) for operational reporting, resulting in the weeks or months lag time between query and answer — even for the simplest data questions. Schema flexibility and self-service data integration eliminate this type of bottleneck. You connect enterprise data as is, regardless of its source, be it data warehouse, cloud applications, spreadsheets or Hadoop. 

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Instead of doing complex transformations and integrating data sources inside expensive, complicated ETL software, modern BI allows you to create links between data sources on-the-fly from within your BI environment. Business users can define their own key metrics, freeing up BI teams to focus on more strategic analytics and more complex data sources.


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