Find articles and interviews containing content from Howard.
Business intelligence is big business, according to a recent study published by Dresner Advisory Services. The consultant firm published a report entitled, “Wisdom of the Crowds Embedded Business Intelligence Market Study” this month. Howard Dresner, chief research officer, Dresner Advisory Services, and author of the report, explained in an exclusive interview that organizations have come to regard business intelligence (BI) as an important function internally and externally.
The report defines BI as “knowledge gained through the access and analysis of business information.” Embedded BI refers to the technological capability to include BI features and functions as an inherent part of another application.
Dresner surveyed nearly 1,200 respondents from all over the world who fill a variety of roles, including in the IT, finance, marketing and sales departments in a wide range of industries at organizations of various sizes. He found that the majority of people surveyed ranked embedded BI functions as “critical,” “very important” or “important.” Embedded BI ranked in the top half of technologies and initiatives related to BI. “It was above Big Data and social media, although it wasn’t as hot as mobile. But, it’s still pretty strong,” Dresner commented.
Businesses create an abundance of data with each interaction, transaction and impression, which is dutifully collected and stored in massive databases. But it’s really in grounding the data in context and correctly interpreting it that the data becomes useful knowledge to truly help businesses run more efficiently and make better decisions.
To bring intelligence to data, the field of Business Intelligence emerged to essentially turn data into information with the aid of computing. Until recently, with the emergence of wide-scale cloud computing, BI was seldom used by organizations other than those that could afford dedicated BI and analytics staff. Today, however, we’re seeing companies of all sizes unlocking the value of their data thanks to emerging cloud delivery models.
Meanwhile, Dresner Advisory Services president and founder Howard Dresner, notes that cloud BI also offers advantages for large corporations. “Larger organizations will move to cloud BI departmentally because they won’t or can’t wait for IT to serve their needs.” This is precipitated by the fact that the cloud gives their smaller competitors near-term competitive advantages.
While there is a lot of controversy these days about the amount of data that the National Security Agency and other intelligence groups are collecting, analyzing all that data in ways that make it actionable is still a major challenge, regardless of how omnipotent an organization is perceived to be.
While the CIA is clearly operating at a level of scale that goes beyond the average enterprise, Howard Dresner, chief research officer for Dresner Advisory Services, says the agency is encountering many of the same advanced analytics challenges facing IT organizations as they move deeper into the realm of big data. Even with the use of Hadoop as a framework for storing data, the cost of collecting and correlating massive amounts of big data is still enormous.
Know where location intelligence fits in your business
Howard Dresner, chief research officer at Dresner Advisory Services in Nashua, N.H., said there’s a great deal of knowledge stored in location data. But businesses starting out on projects need to determine whether location intelligence software is applicable throughout their operations or only within certain departments. Retail and sales operations are likely to be able to gain significant knowledge from location intelligence applications, Dresner said. For example, meteorological data can influence a retail store manager’s staffing decisions. Finance departments, on the other hand, typically would benefit less from the technology.
In addition, with a growing number of organizations looking to reap the potential benefits of big data analytics applications, there’s a tendency nowadays to over-accumulate data, Dresner said. That can increase the “noise-to-signal ratio” business users have to contend with, he warned. “We can collect untold volumes of data these days, but then you need to analyze it. There’s signal within the noise, but it can be hard to find.”
The cloud business intelligence market is rapidly growing in adoption and importance. Thirty-five percent of the 1,182 participants in 2013 Wisdom of Crowds® Cloud Business Intelligence Market Study indicated that cloud BI is either “critical” or “very important” in their organizations, and those citing cloud BI as “not important” or “somewhat important” declined.
When we first started collecting data on cloud BI two years ago, I assumed that it was going to be flat and pretty much the same for some time because this is a bumpy road and it’s pretty provocative to most organizations. However, not only did its importance increase in the aggregate this year, but it also increased across the board by function (with the exception of IT) and size of organization (with some minor exceptions in the 1,000-2,000 employees bucket).
We’re not at the pinnacle of the tipping point yet, but public cloud BI solutions are much more acceptable to organizations compared to last year’s survey. Although most still favor private cloud BI, plans for both public and hybrid clouds have increased.