Business Intelligence (BI) is slated to play bigger roles in all kinds of businesses in the coming years. This is not surprising as data analysis and smarter decision making has made the use of BI inevitable in all sizes of businesses across all sectors, including Real estate, IT, mobile devices, governmental agencies, scientific and engineering communities and R&D labs, banking and insurance, to name a few. BI can effectively deal with industry-specific constraints, operations and objectives thereby helping organizations to better understand their customers, optimize their operations, minimize risk, manage revenue, and ultimately improve their results. Moreover, the changing economic environment, which is marked by shrinking budgets, is making way for advancement of successful BI initiatives.
Today, technology has created one solid platform for the world market, eradicating geographical boundaries. The escalating number of consumers with wide-ranging demands and expectations is making it extremely difficult to conduct business. So meeting customer’s demands has become a top-most priority for all organizations to gain competitive advantage. However, with the implementation of Business Intelligence solutions, companies can stay ahead in the race and keep pace with the market trends and more importantly, meet customers’ expectations. BI Forecasting will help them prepare business strategies while keeping in mind the future events by analyzing the available past data.
Predictive Analytics is the branch of data mining that is used to analyze current and historical data to make predictions about future events. It can help companies optimize their existing processes, well understand customer behavior, spot unexpected opportunities, and anticipate problems before they occur. More and more organizations are realizing the benefits of using data to align their current actions with their future objectives. By incorporating predictive analytics into their daily business operations, they can have better control over the decisions they make every day, which in turn will help them maximize their ROI.
The number of BI users has been constantly growing past the traditional IT “power user”, from dozens, to hundreds and in some cases now thousands of users. Soon this number will be in the millions. Earlier, BI was restricted to only statisticians and corporate analysts and only these selected few could access BI. But today, BI is spreading to nearly every strata of organization, as companies attempt to provide critical data to business users who need it to perform their jobs.
Increasingly, companies are realizing the importance of users having access to timely and relevant insight, which will help in managing performance and aligning them with the mission of the organization. BI is bringing information democracy by providing everyone the insights they require and delivering information to the right people at the right time across the enterprise. More and more organizations are expected to empower their employees with BI for productivity and operational gains.
A rising number of BI vendors are providing BI software as a service (SaaS) or on-demand business intelligence service. SaaS has been increasingly gaining popularity among small and mid-sized companies. It offers companies a practical option to deploy applications that can provide significant business value. With BI SaaS, companies are not required to make major upfront investments in a hardware server and licenses for the BI software, operating system, web servers and the like. In this case, the software provider hosts them over the Internet for a fee, which can be monthly, quarterly or yearly basis.
The high implementation cost of an end-to-end BI solution was an important factor which discouraged small and mid-sized businesses to adopt BI. With on-demand BI, all sizes of companies can avail the benefits of BI and enhance their business growth. Apart from being cost-effective, it provides several other benefits such as shorter implementation cycles and no maintenance of IT support staff.
Over the last few years BI has been gradually growing in importance and in future, organizations will depend only on real-time information related to their business for smarter decision making. Real-time business intelligence can be defined as the process of delivering information on business operations devoid of any latency. Real-time BI disseminates information about a business in a range from milliseconds to a few seconds after the business event. While traditional business intelligence gives users only historical information, real time business intelligence provides a comparison of present business events with historical events, which helps in identifying a range of issues thereby allowing them to resolve it on time. Moreover, the primary aim of real-time BI is to enable corrective actions to be initiated and business rules to be attuned to optimize business processes.
With consumers demanding faster and improved services from businesses it has become imperative for companies to pay even better attention to consumer satisfaction. They now demand near real-time analysis for intelligent decisions for business success. The rising demand for near-real-time data analysis is making way for a new framework for business intelligence. Business intelligence 2.0 is the recently-coined term to describe the acquisition, provision and analysis of real-time data, which was earlier lacking in BI. BI 2.0 is a part of the constantly developing business intelligence industry and indicates the next step for BI.
BI has truly empowered every businessperson who can now easily use BI to make better decisions and that too on their own, without relying on IT or power analysts to prepare and interpret results for them. In a couple of years BI applications will become as commonplace as spreadsheet applications within all organizations that are midsize or larger. Organizations making effective use of BI technologies will rise and stay far ahead from their competitors. It is expected that BI will soon replace the gut-feel management with real data-based decision-making. Over the coming years, business intelligence will undergo transformation that will have a broad and lasting impact. It will revolutionize the way that we think about business and the way business decisions are made. It’s only when thoughtful analysis supersedes gut feeling and conventional perception, we will enter the next level of business intelligence that will empower businesses with the capacity to reason, prepare, forecast, resolve issues and innovate.