What’s New for Business Intelligence and Analytics in 2015

November 13, 2014   //   Business Intelligence, , , , ,

The field of Business Intelligence has been progressing at a rapid pace over the past few years. New tools and technologies are making it even easier for end users to quickly gain insights into the business in order to make critical decisions supporting organizational goals and initiatives. Read my blog about what’s new for business intelligence and analytics in 2015 to learn more.

Recently new business intelligence players have come to the market providing users with dashboard and reporting tools that include advanced visualizations. The customers we work with are very excited about the advances in mapping capabilities so that they can see aspects of their business across the globe and drill down to local levels; even layering additional public data such as median household income on those images so that they can make decisions about new business initiatives, marketing spend or product placement.

Business Intelligence Dashboard Team Analysis Report

Several leading vendors such as Tableau and Microsoft are now integrating the ability to do predictive analytics within their solutions. We have had several local Chicagoland business intelligence events recently around predictive and have found high attendance and interest in this topic as more companies are trying to get their hands around how to leverage predictive analytics for a competitive advantage without having to hire a data scientist. Organizations no longer need to just see past performance and if they are meeting current KPIs. They want to model out the future based on trends so that they can be ahead of the curve in having the right product or service available at the right time.

In the past few years there have also been many advances in mobile technologies and as such many vendors are responding with better mobile capabilities for BI. We have found that field representatives, such as sales and executives are asking for more dashboard and reporting access while on their phones and tablets, and vendors have been responding with better integration. However, rather than being a competitive advantage, we are finding this to be an assumed requirement of any tool and most players have addressed this need for the end consumers.

We have also been seeing an uptick in customers moving to the cloud with two main drivers behind that: solution and hardware costs. Typically it is much more affordable to purchase user licensing for the cloud, then there is less of a need to have as much hardware on-premise to support that. Microsoft launched Power BI within the past year which enables organizations to share Excel spreadsheets, reports and Power View assets through team sites in the cloud. One of their key differentiators is the ability to interact with both cloud and on-premise data which has been important for many customers who still have concerns about putting sensitive data in the cloud. However, within our customer base this seems to be a continued trend that is under consideration for the near future.

For any organization it is important to have a robust data context with high data quality as the foundation for any BI initiative. We have found that many companies will adopt a new tool for the front end, but neglect the data itself, rendering amazing charts and graphs with bad data and therefore making bad decisions. More and more customers have been working with us on master data and data quality strategies enabling them to have one centralized clean version of the truth for all reporting and analytics. We feel with all of the disparate systems, sources and higher volumes of information, including Big Data that this will continue to be a key concern for organizations in the near term.

If business intelligence is one of your organization’s top initiatives for 2015, please contact SWC to talk about BI strategy or join us for our next Chicagoland business intelligence event. SWC provides our customers with a choice when it comes to business intelligence and offer Microsoft SQL Server, Office 365’s Power BI and Tableau.

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SWC’s Approach to Business Intelligence

Watch Rachael’s video to learn more about SWC’s approach to creating business intelligence assets that drive ROI.