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Effective Business Intelligence rests on simplicity

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The Business Intelligence (BI) and analytics market has had a huge amount of growth over the past five years.  Recently, however, a great deal of complexity has been introduced through new Big Data technologies.

“The question has recently been asked whether Big Data spells the end of BI, and while confusion about the meaning of the terms ‘business intelligence’, ‘analytics’ and ‘big data’ contributed to a steep decline in the growth of the BI market last year, according to Gartner, the explosion of new data sources offers new types of information and, potentially, the opportunity to generate new insights,” explains Glen Rabie, CEO of Yellowfin.

Gartner found that the global BI market grew 7% to $13.1 billion in 2012, compared to 17% growth in 2011.  The analyst firm identified two factors that slowed down the market during the year – “challenging macro economics and term confusion around ‘analytics’, ‘big data’ and ‘BI'”.

With all the attention on advanced analytics for Big Data, where does that leave BI? “We believe that a simplified approach to providing organisations insight into their businesses is where the market will turn to in order to achieve rapid value,” says Rabie.

With the constantly changing needs of the business and its operating environment, simplicity and agility are key to obtaining value from BI. Traditional BI applications utilised by select power-users, and the processes and culture that accompany them, are incapable of providing data analysis with the speed and flexibility now demanded. Businesses from across all industries and sectors are now demanding BI projects that can adjust to meet their frequently changing data analysis requirements.

Rabie explains that many BI tools on the market are extremely complex, and while they serve the needs of some organisations, the complexities of traditional BI tools severely restrict the ability to adapt and respond swiftly to changes in reporting needs. Simplicity will therefore increasingly become more important in BI as business users, not technical users, demand ease of use.

“An application that is easy to use should not compromise on functionality. Empowering end-users with an easy to use, functionally rich BI solution, reduces the amount of training and IT support required by business users, while simultaneously enabling rapid report writing and development. An intuitive interface allows users to easily use and navigate the entire BI application by maintaining a consistent and simple look and feel throughout. However, the BI tool must be able to support independent business-user interaction without compromising on analytical capability,” says Rabie.

“Traditional BI solutions have a poor reputation for being costly, with slow and inflexible development cycles. Traditional BI tools were designed for a select group of highly technical users, and are incapable of providing widespread user deployment because of their cost and complexity. Today’s business requires simplicity and agility, and the constraints of traditional BI rollout and waterfall delivery method are unacceptable to modern business needs,” he concludes.

Staff Writer

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