A host of tools plays key roles in any business’s strategic planning process. These software comprise the business intelligence (BI) of any organization. Most businesses need to collect huge amounts of raw data to help run their operations. To keep track of all this information, they need the whole gamut of BI tools to analyze this data in a timely manner.
With multiple software systems and applications making up an organization’s BI, it makes it easier for any business to take the relevant amount of information it needs (data mining) and process it (analytical processing) for management to gain insights to base their decisions on, identify inefficient processes, cut costs, pinpoint new business opportunities and capitalize on the latest business trends.
With data as the most fundamental element of any BI system, hundreds of business intelligence vendors are running to the race to make innovations in data analytic systems. Most data discovery and analytical tools are shifting from being IT-driven to business-driven, and a host of these applications, from dashboards, search and interactive visualization, are now being designed for businesses’ self-service use.
This evolution has resulted in new concepts and fresh trends for BI in 2014:
- Visual data discovery – this first came into the market in 2013, with vendors like TIBCO Spotfire, Tableau and QlikView leading the game. These agile visual solutions have made huge leaps in creating greater ease of use and flexibility in query-and-reporting. Major vendors have jumped on the bandwagon and are closing on attaining the perfect balance between trusted data and agile analysis.
- Cloud-based BI – finally, business intelligence will take a firm grasp on the cloud. With limited BI resources, users will no longer be burdened by hardware expenses usually brought about by conventional analytics systems. Companies will spend less time maintaining BI infrastructure and upgrading BI software, and instead utilize their resources to access and explore data and test innovative technologies in the cloud. Increased flexibility and lower costs mean BI vendors will be able to provide access to increased data volumes that can be stored and analyzed by organizations on demand.
- Mobile BI – as mobile device technology, cloud-based tools and data discovery applications continue to converge, mobile devices have began to play a bigger role in IT and BI consumerization. The market for this kind of technology is still vague as to capabilities, mode of delivery and what kind of devices mobile business intelligence can support. However, application of BI in mobile technology is growing. The only limitations to this trend remain on policy, restricted device realty, and concerns about privacy and security.
- Big data – with the huge volume of data ingestion, BI users’ needs will grow from conventional querying to demand variety and variation of data. While big data has not reached mainstream launch yet, vendors are working on tighter integration to give BI users access to unstructured data: not only web content, social media, logs, machine-generated information or email, but all other types of data outside the conventional SQL database.
- Simpler tools – most people tend to avoid business intelligence tools because they can appear too complicated to use. With the trend moving towards self-service BI, vendors have been working on simplifying BI interfaces without sacrificing performance. This will include improved search and dashboard interfaces as well as embedded business intelligence.
BI roles and technologies will continue to expand as IT and business users perform role reversals: who will be generating reports and analytics, and who will be gaining access to all this data first hand? Vendors will start shaping their products and technology to better fit the needs of the user rather than the IT middleman.
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