Regardless of size, an enterprise lives or dies based on its ability to make decisions in an accurate, timely and effective manner. But as the quantity and comprehensiveness of available data continues to expand, so too does the required scope of analytic decision making. That is, for an organisation to succeed, a much larger percentage of its workforce must become capably analytic, at minimum during the point in time when a decision is made or action is taken. This is precisely why business intelligence (BI) has quickly evolved from a “nice to have” to a fundamental business lifeline.
To truly put more information to work and insight into the hands of nearly everyone, a new generation of business analytic software is necessary. Why? Traditional business intelligence tools can’t address this opportunity. Their aged architectures, complex licensing arrangements and expensive fees prevent them from offering a modern answer.
Fortunately, the new choices for business analytics, designed specifically to navigate this growing sea of data and best enable success, are exceedingly accessible and easy to use, thanks partly to the cloud. This ensures that those organisations striving to take full advantage of the opportunity in front of them are well placed to do so.
In fact, we are today entering a new generation of embedded business intelligence which looks to make big data small and is fundamentally different than the previous two generations. New generation business analytics specifically addresses the challenges of cost and complexity which are hindering the broader adoption of BI.
The first generation was characterised by general-purpose, off the shelf reporting tools for reporting and ad-hoc querying and analysis of structured data. In contrast, the second generation was marked by the advent of the data warehouse, with all BI players scrambling to add a stronger web appeal to both their architectures and approach to managing data.
The overarching characteristic of a new generation BI tool is its ability to solve business problems previously out of reach. More specifically, they can be defined by the stringent requirements they meet across the five important categories outlined here.
1. It’s All In The Timing
With relevant data accumulating in much greater volumes, the need to understand what’s happening in the business has never been greater. Access to this data exactly when needed has become critical for many. New generation embedded BI tools allow organisations to simultaneously tap into the real-time clickstreams and latent, idle data – deciphering the information elements that help make better decisions now.
2. Embed, Extend & Customise
For BI tools to succeed today they must be built with the customer in mind. The vast majority of business decision makers do not spend their day working in a BI tool – nor do they want to. But, just because they’d prefer not to use a BI tool does not mean they don’t want access to pertinent data to bolster better decision-making. New generation BI allows reports and dashboards to be embedded in the apps people use every day.
3. Open Web-Based Architecture
Built on open, Web standards and designed purely for the connected world, the architecture of this new breed of BI tool must remain lightweight, modular, and simple to enable faster and less-costly deployments. This architecture requires no more than a thin client browser as its end point, so the ability to include a wide variety of client devices is assured.
4. Simple To Deploy & Use
5. Affordable Scalability
To address the challenge of cost and complexity, new generation embedded BI tools offer architectural superiority to meet the scale-out needs of today’s computing infrastructure and new pricing and licensing models to fit within a wide variety of budgets. Gone are the days when costly perpetual license fees were required – as annual and monthly subscriptions or even pay-as-you-go hourly models will dominate the modern analytics landscape.
There are examples of businesses already using embedded BI and big data very smartly. Fluensee, a company which develops and implements RFID-enabled solutions to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of tracking and managing physical assets, require quick access to a multitude of data sets. It now provides customised reporting abilities for each of its customers’ needs. This enables Fluensee’s customers, such as a CraftBrewer which manages beer keg movement, a one to two day reduction in the time it takes to get each keg back saving more than £60,000 in future keg purchases.
This new generation of business intelligence will be welcomed by those who wish to lead their industry, putting more data to work, more efficiently, so that all the data becomes useful to a much larger audience. With the cost of collecting and using all data now plummeting, there has never been a better time to put all data to work. If used successfully, these organisations will understand the intelligence that is flowing throughout – and deliver new insight from which valuable competitive advantage can be gained.