At our recent Dimensional Insight Users Conference (DIUC17), industry analyst Howard Dresner, who coined the term “business intelligence” back in 1989, joined our CEO Fred Powers on stage to talk about some of the trends in business intelligence today. The timing was serendipitous, as Howard had recently released the results of Dresner Advisory Services’ 2017 Wisdom of Crowds Business Intelligence Market Study.
BI trends that Fred and Howard discussed at the conference:
Self-service business intelligence
One of our conference attendees asked about Howard’s thoughts on self-service BI. Is it a buzzword? And how can users successfully apply it in a company? Howard talked about how self-service BI is really a business problem, not a technology problem. Users want to have the freedom to do what they want to do, but IT wants to be able to have control over who is able to access the data.
Howard says the most successful organizations have harmony between the two camps. What he has advocated for is a Business Intelligence Competency Center (BICC) within organizations. He says it doesn’t have to be a formal group. However, it should be an intermediary and address some of the issues that arise between users and IT. Howard says training is a large piece of the puzzle – that users need to understand how to use the data. It’s all about integrity of the data and trying to use it in the right way.
Tied to the issue of self-service BI is data governance. Fred asked Howard how organizations are doing with data governance. Howard cited recent Wisdom of Crowd research that shows just 28% of organizations view their data as “truth”. (Figure 1)
Many organizations have adopted tools outside of what is “standard” in their organizations or have sidestepped policies that are in place. This has led to a multiplicity of definitions for everything, and it has made it difficult for users to completely trust the data.
When it comes to big data, there’s been a whole lot of talk over the last couple of years, but is anyone actually doing anything with it? In the Wisdom of Crowd research, big data ranks #20 in 33 technologies and initiatives strategic to BI in terms of importance.
Howard showed attendees his “hype to value” ratio. (Figure 2) Howard says whenever someone puts out a new term such as big data, red lights should start flashing. Right now, the hype is starting to settle down a little bit. Most folks, in fact, are not doing big data – they are only doing really large data. Most business decisions are currently made in the gigabyte and terabyte range, not the petabyte range. However, there are some interesting use cases, such as in meteorology.
Real Business Intelligence conference
Howard is also co-chairing the Dresner Advisory Services conference in July to talk about some of the latest business intelligence trends and offer some practical advice on how BI & data practitioners can succeed with BI. The Real Business Intelligence Conference will be held in Cambridge, MA on July 11 & 12, and Dimensional Insight is proud to be a sponsor of this inaugural event. Learn more about the Real Business Intelligence conference. Or, register to attend the Real Business Intelligence conference. You can also use the code “DIUC17” for a 45% discount off the conference registration fee.