3 Takeaways from the 2018 Wisdom of Crowds SurveyThe 2018 Wisdom of Crowds® Business Intelligence Market Study is now available, providing BI practitioners with an inside look at the “state of BI.” While the first place I usually go to in the report is the user rankings (hint: Dimensional Insight did very well!), the report also provides some interesting data about the industry as a whole.

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What did I find most surprising about the report? What piece of data do I want to check up again on next year? What provides the most promising outlook? Let’s take a look.

Most surprising: 30 years later, BI is finding mediocre success

The author of the Wisdom of Crowds report, Howard Dresner, first coined the term “business intelligence” back in 1989. That’s the year the Berlin Wall came down, Nintendo first released the Game Boy, and a U.S. postage stamp was only 25 cents. (That’s a long time ago!) So why is it that since then, we haven’t been able to figure out how to do BI right?

Here’s what the survey tells us: only 31% of respondents say their organizations are “completely successful” with BI. That fell from an all-time high of 37% in 2016. Part of the reason (I think) is because of how we are measuring the success of BI implementations. It’s primarily based on “fuzzy” metrics like “user satisfaction” (78%) and “customer satisfaction” (52%) instead of hard metrics like ROI (41%).
In addition, only 20% of organizations have one BI tool in use. The rest are using multiple tools (or don’t know what they’re using). That results in fragmented analytics that is more difficult to govern and gain enterprise-wide insights from.

Now I know some of you are going to say this finding is not surprising. But I’m an optimist. And I’d like to think that in the last 30 years, we’ve been able to figure out some of this stuff out a little bit better. No? OK. Let’s move on.

Need another look: Outlook on predictive analytics

It seems that all we’ve been hearing about these days is the promise of predictive analytics. But the survey results gave me a little bit of a pause and have me wondering if the hype is real, or if it’s just… hype.

Here’s what the statistics show: predictive (listed with data mining and advanced algorithms) is currently listed eighth among 36 technology priorities. That’s a pretty solid standing. However, increased interest in predictive is only 9%, which is ranked 23rd out of all the priorities. (The leaders in terms of “change in technology priorities” are edge computing at 32% and video analytics at 31%.)

What does this mean for predictive? I’m not quite sure. I’d like to see next year how this data point changes.

Most promising outlook: BI budgets are increasing

Over half of all respondents to the survey (54%) are increasing their BI budgets over last year, compared to 50% who said the same thing last year. I know this is good news for me as a BI vendor, but I think it’s good news too for users, since it means that even if they are not completely successful with their BI (see point #1), they are still hopeful about the insights that they can gain. (Again, I am an optimist!)

Geographies that are most increasing their BI budgets are EMEA (57%) and Asia/Pacific (55%). Business functions are business intelligence competency centers (70%), finance (61%), sales/marketing (58%), and executive management (58%).

Dimensional Insight in the survey

This year, we increased our scores over 2017 scores and were “best in class” for a majority of measures. We also placed in the top-right of both the Customer Experience Model and the Vendor Credibility Model provided in the report.

Want to read the report yourself? You can download your copy of the 2018 Wisdom of Crowds Business Intelligence Market Study. Then come back here and let me know your biggest takeaways in the comments area below.

Kathy Sucich
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