How to optimise your BI in 2018
– The top ten BI trends from a business perspective
New year, new trends, new opportunities? Or just a major headache? 2018 is off to a galloping start and trend predictions have been coming in fast and furious. Gartner says you should exploit narrow AI to enhance decision making. According to Qlik, 2018 will be the year of the “desilofication of data” through data literacy. IDC Research talks about the Cloud 2.0 phase and Tableau says that we should hire people with skills in liberal arts to create our analytical dashboards. At the same time, IDG predicts that BI is dead.
There is no lack of inspiration, visions and rumours. But it’s easy to get confused. And if we are being honest – what of all this talk matters and is actually important to you in your daily work? We asked our Managers across Europe what they think are the most important things that you, from a business perspective, should focus on in 2018 to optimise your Business Intelligence.
Automate processes and secure data quality: The visualisation race is to a large extent over. All tools can look attractive. But the key issue is the same as it’s always been, getting the right data to the right people with the right quality. Make sure to gather and combine your data with minimal manual effort. Invest in your ETL structure to automate your processes and make people responsible for data quality.
Embrace the latest technologies: There will be more commercial use of AI, ML, DL this year, helping companies get better usage of non-transactional data. Like in our project with the Swedish Childhood Cancer Foundation where, using historical patient journals, they have been able to identify high risk individuals and detect cancer early. So, use the latest technologies to exploit the full potential in your data.
Take control with low code: More business people will start build or enhance (self-service) the BI solutions themselves. This way, the new generation of IT savvy biz people will finally erase the gap between IT and business. Important factors here are to invest in BI architecture and infrastructure so you don’t end up in excel hell on steroids.
Promote your BI solutions Internally: Usage is the key to getting value from Business Intelligence. Because, what happens if the competition gets ahead using their data (and sometimes even your data) in a smarter way? Increase usage by spreading the word about what you have achieved, both to other potential users and the people financing the solutions. Monitor and measure how your apps are used to and follow up together with the users.
Leap into the cloud: Smaller and mid-sized companies want to cut costs and complexity with Software as a Service (SaaS) instead of owning licenses and infrastructure themselves. Just look at how the cloud can give you access to the latest and greatest tools, with low entry costs and no capital expense, making up/down scaling easier, while banning upgrade headaches forever. What’s more, letting us host your BI solutions will reduce complexity even further.
Foster a BI mentality: Promoting a company culture that values an understanding of the benefits of BI and the value of data-driven decision making is essential. Define what to measure and how to follow up your business using BI. Then find the data that is most crucial to your business, set up processes that assure data quality and involve your staff. For BI to become ingrained in the company culture, BI tools that awaken the curiosity of your employees are a must. Bring in expertise to get the right foundation – one that facilitates Self Service and prioritises smart functions and an attractive interface that enhances user experience. With the right solution, everyone will understand the value of data.
Shift emphasis to “what next”: To drive success, move from reporting on “what happened” to “what will happen”. Although visualising and reporting on numbers (like P&Ls) isn’t going anywhere, the value on this is shrinking and becoming commoditised on a daily basis. Today, all tools and all consultancies do this now proficiently. In 2018, the winners will be those who use BI to look forward and predict new revenue streams and leverage “what if” analyses, giving companies data-driven support on making business decisions.
Combine the latest and greatest: Machine learning, Predictive Analytics, Cloud v2.0, Big Data (Data Lakes) are currently joining the mainstream of data preparation, blending and visualisation. All of these trends are entering the market place in very specialised and specific ways, and have been harnessed for tactical uses for a few years now. In 2018, successful companies will combine all of the above in the most efficient way possible, and inject real-time BI in their customer facing services.
Expand with external data: The Benelux market is getting more and more data driven. The requests for new insights will be rapidly growing and extend beyond the company’s own data. So, expanding with “external” data and information is the way to gain competitive advantage. Look at how you can add external sets of data and market information that correlate to the already available analysis. For example; 1) Connect data from suppliers and customers to get a total overview of the business vertical you operate in. 2) Add purchased or collected market information to get a picture of how your company is performing in the market. 3) Slowly the open source and social data sets will be added to find explanations for discoveries they made based on the internal data sets.
Clean up your master data: While companies are becoming more data driven, the lack of quality in their master data is slowing them down. Now that BI is finally getting in the hands of more employees and on different levels in the organisations, more people see the data. That’s good because this is when you start questioning and realise the importance of the data quality – and, more importantly, the need to act on that, to get better insights. Companies have to prioritise data management to make sure their master data is accurate and has calculable quality to it.
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