Tuesday, 11 May 2021 10:03

5 Features of business intelligence critical to driving success

By Eyal Mekler
Eyal Mekler, Regional VP of APAC, Sisense Eyal Mekler, Regional VP of APAC, Sisense

Guest Opinion: The business intelligence landscape is fast-changing. BI was once seen as a "nice to have" but has turned into a necessary tool for organisations to understand and interpret their data in order to respond to rapidly changing market, competitive and supply chain dynamics.

Since the impact of COVID-19, organisations are beginning to take BI and analytics much more seriously. They have a need to learn how to use data and business insights in order to stay resilient and look for new ways to innovate and grow.

Most workers today don’t have the time or expertise to stop their business workflow or process and go and find the data or the right dashboard - they want the insights they need at their fingertips when they need to make the right decision. AI-driven analytics (platforms) gives organisations the ability to personalise their analytics and can be accessed anytime, anywhere, in real-time.

In a recent Sisense report, The State of BI and Analytics ANZ, 67% of respondents said BI and analytics programs are more important or much more important to their daily operations today.

Furthermore, 55% of companies are using data sources, analytics and dashboards more often or much more often than before COVID.

Business intelligence can be adapted in multiple ways by organisations depending on what they need to get from their data. From a hybrid approach to knowledge graphs, these are some of the ways BI can be utilised by organisations to help drive better business decision making and scale success.

1. Hybrid approach to data analytics

A ‘hybrid approach’ means organisations can have more agility within their data. A company deploys a hybrid approach to their data analytics solution by combining public clouds, private cloud, and on-premises resources.

This leaves maximum flexibility for businesses to explore and quickly expand. Many companies struggle to find the right BI solution as it focuses on either cloud-based or on-prem, however, the hybrid approach does not discriminate and will draw data from any platform

2. No/Low code trends and easy customisation

There are not always enough developers or data experts available in organisations to highly customise and integrate solutions. High code platforms are time-consuming and manually very intensive. This is when no to low-code customisations get introduced. However, some newer BI solutions allow for extensibility and customisations without coding, or with minimum coding.

This trend is set to soar with Forrester predicting the low-code customisation market to be worth $21.2 billion by 2022. Many small businesses and startups look to implement low-code customisation as they don't have the budget for a coding specialist, or are unable to outsource.

Some BI solutions allow for easy customisation to help organisations see their data in different ways. Through BI, there is the ability to customise BI report content, control distribution lists of the report, apply filters to view only relevant information in certain groups and play with frequency and format. In this way, it is easy to build analytics into workflow and apps and extend to employees and customers, so everyone gets what they need to effectively undertake their roles.

3. Knowledge graphs

Knowledge graphs match patterns between different metadata points in usage over time. It is a single place where users can find all relevant data and the interlocking relationships behind it.

In many ways, this is similar to the Netflix model, where the minute a customer starts using a BI platform, the platform begins to understand who they are.

As a customer uses it more, the platform is able to highly customise and personalise how they are sending insights to them.

4. Infusing BI, integration and context

Context is a crucial part of BI, particularly as many industries use contextual data to get an edge and find unique ways to understand the information they’ve collected.

After all, data isn’t produced in a vacuum. Contextual information can help companies better understand the details they’ve gathered about clients.

Contextual analytics helps narrow down this wide scope to reveal insights that can be relevant to both customers and employees and accessed from anywhere. If organisations can infuse this contextual data into workflows, processes, applications and products, it gives them deep, meaningful insights.

BI and analytics shouldn't be kept in the IT department, integrate BI throughout the whole workforce to understand your organisation better.

5. Cloud and the new ‘Gen 3’ of BI

Data analytics have evolved, and we are now well and truly currently entering "Gen 3" of BI and analytics. As explained by Castle, Gen 1 focused on the on-premises server and IT generated reports and static data being sent. Gen 2 focuses on empowering the business with self-service and interacting with dashboards and serving up the insights needed. However, Gen 2 had issues when it came to scaling, and dashboards were not easily served up in workflows or easy to interpret by all across an organisation.

This is where Gen 3 comes in - it focuses on the cloud and AI-driven analytics and delivers data wherever the user is even further. It will allow users to be remote, have more data at their fingertips, has personalised data and insights served up in real-time, with everything in context.

Gen 3 solves the problem of how humans connect with and absorb analytics and more real-time insights. For example, a marketer might be alerted to real-time advertising or campaign performance by an AI-driven platform for immediate action, with alters being as personalised as possible to the marketer's workflow. This will be the same with BI, the most applicable data to the situation will be shown to a user first.

The future of business intelligence

The future of BI is exceptionally exciting. From the new generation of analytics using AI, to personalised graphs, to code-less customisation and extensibility options, the future of data and analytics is right around the corner.

When organisations implement BI, they will be integrating an application that will show data and analytics in context, based on what employees are doing, in their applications - and it will be highly personalised based on unique organisational needs.

It’s no wonder so many forward-thinking organisations are seeing it as a crucial part of operations moving forward. 

About Sisense

Sisense goes beyond traditional business intelligence by providing organizations with the ability to infuse analytics everywhere, embedded in both customer and employee applications and workflows. Sisense customers are breaking through the barriers of analytics adoption by going beyond the dashboard with Sisense Fusion - the highly customizable, AI-driven analytics cloud platform, that infuses intelligence at the right place and the right time, every time. More than 2,000 global companies such as GitLab, UiPath, Tinder, Nasdaq, GE, Rolls Royce and Philips Healthcare rely on Sisense to innovate, disrupt markets and drive meaningful change in the world. Ranked as the No. 1 Business Intelligence company in terms of customer success, Sisense

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