We recently completed our benchmark research on next-generation business intelligence. Ventana Research looks as next-generation BI as a function of traditional BI that is converging with new technologies such as mobility, collaboration and cloud computing. Just a few years ago business intelligence might have been considered a mature category with incremental growth, but now it’s growing in new directions and it’s difficult today to call business intelligence mature.
One of the reasons for the dramatic change in business intelligence is the impact of consumer technologies in the workplace. Our study shows that 53 percent of companies are currently deploying or plan to deploy tablet computers in their BI environments. This trend is driven by executives who have started to bring their devices to work and are asking for support – the so-called BYOD movement.
From the BYOD trend, it is apparent that ease-of-use and integration expectations are being led at the consumer level. Think about how easy it is to do things on an application like Yelp, where social, local and mobile technologies come together in real time to offer insights on our choice of restaurants.
When we port these expectations into the business environment, however, the tools we have in place do not meet these expectations. In our study, only 28 percent say they are fully satisfied with mobile BI, and only 32 percent with collaborative BI. Furthermore, our maturity model shows that while the people and technology categories are mature, information and processes are immature and holding companies back with respect to next-generation BI. This makes sense, since people have the technology and are skilled at using it in consumer environments, but they lack integrated information in the workplace, as well as the processes they need to take advantage of next-generation BI capabilities. Until businesses can take advantage of the kind of integration available in the consumer environment, we will likely see the satisfaction with these technologies stay relatively low.
Unfortunately, we found no coalescence around any particular access method. Just under two-fifth of the study (38%) prefer business intelligence applications as the primary access method for collaborative BI, but 36 percent prefer access through office productivity tools, and 34 percent prefer access through applications themselves.
Clearly, next-generation business intelligence is extremely important and can provide real competitive advantages, but it is still a bit of a mine field. For this reason, we strongly encourage companies to look at their information environments, consider current role-based workflows, and develop solutions that fit as seamlessly as possible into their environments. The alternative – deploying next-generation BI in a horizontal manner without careful thought for how the technologies integrate with the surrounding people, process and information – is just asking for trouble.