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Dresner’s Point: Three Don’ts, Four Do’s for Business Intelligence in 2013

By January 7, 2013Article

What will we see cropping up in the business intelligence space in the coming year? At the past couple of tweetchats at my Friday #BIWisdom group, we spent some time tracing the journey of where we’re headed based on current trends. Check the list of do’s and don’ts that I found notable from the discussion and determine where your organization is in the journey.

Three Don’ts

1. Don’t just nibble. Many organizations are beginning to realize that they’re sitting on a gold mine of data. Don’t be caught with “dark data” — used for one purpose and then forgotten.

2. Don’t cross the fine line. In the challenge and goal to “know” what’s in the data, don’t skirt around the privacy laws. As a member of my tweetchat pointed out: “Big Data now has the ears of government, which is nervous about the negative sentiment in media regarding privacy and security. Coalitions are forming.”

3. Don’t drown in the sea of hype. BI is becoming much more broadbased and mainstream than ever before, as witnessed by the increase in users in 2012. Thanks to the hype, awareness levels for the need for BI are at a new high, and business users are more active in driving BI initiatives than in the past. But in the end, hype only serves to obscure, not illuminate. Let’s use the increasing awareness to illuminate business users’ real needs and create pressure to drive greater value from vendors.

Four Do’s

1. Do pull the mobile lever. Mobile is clearly developing momentum in BI and will see even more adoption in 2013. Users would love to have mobile BI, but we’re not yet at the point where mobile BI is a “given” and expected as part of any BI deployment. The IT side of a business may be the bottleneck, as it focuses on security. Vendors can supply the necessary architecture and need to blaze the trail for secure mobile BI.

2. Do keep pace with change. 2013 looks to be a year when businesses focus on data-driven competitive advantages. And the pace of development of BI enablers will likely accelerate. The hot trend of using gamification to develop business solutions is coming to business intelligence. One of the #BIWisdom tweetchat members shared that his company recently used gamification in the area of development data. They had competitive teams at events known as Knowledge Discovery Days, and the focus was on co-creation of insights.

3. Do think bigger.  While there were many early successes in Big Data, leading organizations are now starting to develop actual enterprise strategies for it. However, some companies are still struggling with the basics and focusing on simple dashboards. The fact is hindsight analytics have little value. Organizations need to develop strategies around advanced analytics and predictive models. 

4. Do remember the faster way to get from Point A to Point C. My #BIWisdom group talked about some of the distractions that are obstacles to achieving business intelligence goals. First to come to mind was expressed as “the inability of BI practitioners to get out of abstract concepts and use ‘plain speak’ with business users.” While that certainly would help break down an obstacle, what about raising the knowledge level of the business users too? BI technology will advance in 2013, but a bigger impact likely will come from integrating the business and IT sides of the business so they operate from shared knowledge and shared rules regarding BI.

Howard Dresner is president, founder and chief research officer at Dresner Advisory Services, LLC, an independent advisory firm. He is one of the foremost thought leaders in Business Intelligence and Performance Management, having coined the term “Business Intelligence” in 1989. He has published two books on the subject, The Performance Management Revolution — Business Results through Insight and Action, and Profiles in Performance — Business Intelligence Journeys and the Roadmap for Change. He hosts a weekly tweet chat (#BIWisdom) on Twitter each Friday. Prior to Dresner Advisory Services, Howard served as chief strategy officer at Hyperion Solutions and was a research fellow at Gartner, where he led its Business Intelligence research practice for 13 years.

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