Business intelligence… Planning ahead

As we come to the start of another year, I spend some time reflecting upon 2012 and think about what 2013 has in store for us…

Big Data

We have seen considerable interest in Big Data through 2012, however have you harnessed it yet? It has become generally accepted that data becomes ‘big data’ when it can no longer be managed with traditional data management tools. How many of us how got to this stage in 2012, or do we have an idea when we will??? IDC have predicted the growth in data will roughly double every 2 years, which will undoubtedly put the pressure on us all to get plans in place to mange this growth. To put some of this into to context in 2012 Twitter estimated it was handling over 175 million tweets per day and Facebook claimed daily uploads in excess of 100 terabytes!!

Many reports claim the benefits to businesses in harnessing big data, however how many have achieved this and or started this journey in 2012. As I have mentioned in previous blogs I still feel that many businesses need to start by answering the questions “What data is important to us?” and “Where is the data coming from?” to then focus an investment program on harnessing it.

As with many things in life without knowing where you are going, how do you know if you have reached your destination…

Mobile consumption

Mobility has continued to be a key feature in the landscape of BI and business improvement. With the big players in hardware and software fuelling the growth and more and more users taking up the technology, there are increasing areas of opportunity for both businesses and consumers. Last year Apple hit the milestone of 25 billion app downloads from their store with an estimated achieve 15 billion downloads per year going forward. However that said the proportion of apps available for improving our businesses is somewhat limited and will only form a fraction of these downloads.

A survey commissioned by MGI Research in 2012 noted that mobile apps are increasingly viewed as business differentiation tools from a customer satisfaction, engagement and brand point of view. However they were not viewed as recognised tools for lowering costs or increasing margins. As some of you may be familiar the major BI vendors are now making it easier and easier to access data on the go through app deployments of their solutions. The trick over the next 12 months is understand how and what information should be displayed in this way and tie back into the needs of user and their ability to use the information.

Engagement

The final element for me is engagement. Not only engagement of the end users of the information, but engagement throughout the entire information creation chain. At every stage of the process of transforming data into meaningful insights of information the buy-in and support of those involved in creating, transforming or influencing the data must be gained. The hidden processes and systems in use across do not immediately rise to the surface without the knowledge of those closet to it. To add to this complexity many business systems are adding in their own BI and reporting tools as an integration to the product. However these tools in isolation do need help the business to integrate the data, but merely further segregate it. I have seen many cases where investment has been made in BI, yet still the full potential hasn’t been harnessed.

Vision…

So what does success look like for 2013?

• Set a vision for your BI road map aligned to the best in class; mobile BI, data volume and variety
• Align reporting with business goals and strategy; reviewed on an ongoing basis
• Define and map out the current BI landscape to select the right tools for the job
• Integrate the BI reporting tools and data from key functions / systems across the business
• Engage and involve those who know the system; what data is right and what data is wrong
• Deploy a BI governace process and appoint a senior exec steering group; critical to gain senior level support and credibility

I hope you find success in 2013 and I look forward to sharing and learning about your experiences this year!!

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