The recent Gartner Business Intelligence (BI) Summit in Sydney provided a great platform for discussion around the latest trends in Australia and New Zealand. For me, the most important trend was how lines of business are taking control of the BI discussion, and are demanding change.  

This line-of-business driven trend is placing pressure on traditional Enterprise Data Warehouse reporting platform providers -  to the extent which the recent Gartner Magic Quadrant for Business Intelligence and Analytics Platforms 2016 has ushered in a new breed of vendors and dropped some of the legacy vendors.  The new breed is focused on delivering agile workflows and self-service analytics to better serve the business user in today’s digital age.  

Gartner discussed this change through the concept of bimodal IT, where Mode 1 represents traditional IT delivery and Mode 2 represents the type of agile delivery enjoyed by digital native companies. Mode 2 offers far greater flexibility than traditional top-down, IT-led initiatives. It results in analytic content that is governed, more valuable and more widely adopted by business users.

The shifting focus of BI towards the line of business was best defined by Gartner’s Ian Bertram (Managing Vice President), with the term “Information yield”.  This term defines how the lines of business are looking to reduce the growing cost of accumulating and managing an ever increasing set of data, while improving the ability for users to explore data, discover insights make faster - and smarter - decisions.  

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We had a cartoonist portray key requests from lines of business users at the BI Summit. They included:

  1. Ease of use - users are looking for the same app and online experience that improves their personal productivity.

  2. Mobility - Apps, apps, apps - Users want insights wherever they are and in whatever form best fits their circumstances.  Managers and decision makers are on the go and need to have mobile, real-time and secure access anywhere, anytime.  

  3. Fast exploration experience - The idea that on creation of the dashboard all questions are known is ridiculous.  Business want answers quickly and the need to export to a spreadsheet - or as one attendee put it ‘play Q & A tennis with IT’ -  is no longer acceptable.  Users want standard dashboard information and then the autonomy to drill down themselves

  4. Analytics should be for everyone - Businesses want the ability to embrace benefits similar to those social media brings, within the decision making process. These include the ability to share insights quickly and simultaneously with the entire team, which helps to deliver different perspectives on the data, improves collaborative decision-making, and overall buy in.

The BI Summit was validation of what I’m witnessing every day in this market - namely that agility has the advantage, and accessible analytics hold the key to success in this new, fast-moving world of business data.

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