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The Bite-Size Future of Business Intelligence

The recent Dresner 2021 Wisdom of the Crowds survey for Self-Service Business Intelligence showed that self-service BI ranked 6th in importance out of 44 topics.

Guess what Number 1 was?

Yup, Reporting was #1 on the list!

Ten years ago, the BI industry experts and vendors were trying to convince us that self-service BI was here already and pervasive throughout most organizations and that BI reporting was on its way out. Yet today BI reporting remains number 1 in importance and self-service BI has made it all the way to number 6.

The Future of Business Intelligence Panel Discussion – IBIS

So at IBIS 2021 last month, there was a fascinating discussion on the Future of data visualization, artificial intelligence and machine learning in Business Intelligence with two BI visionaries from Tableau, Santi Becerra and Caroline Sherman.  There was a lot of great information and insights but the takeaway that stood out the most for me was when I asked them both where they saw the future of BI going in the next 5 years.

Santi said he envisioned a future where “Bite-size chunks” of critical BI data would be delivered real-time to people’s mobile devices. He did not think people would consume BI dashboards and perform slice-and-dice or complex drill-down functions on their phones. Instead, he felt that small important pieces of event-driven actionable information from Business Intelligence analysis and reports would be sent to people’s phones so they could consume and take action in seconds. Caroline agreed with this prediction making it all the more exciting for me.

Part of the reason I was so excited was that I have been working with many organizations over the last few years to help them do exactly what Santi and Caroline are predicting is the future of BI. Our addon BI solution, InfoBurst, provides a powerful platform for the automated scheduling, bursting, grouping, distributing and publishing of BI content to any destination in any commodity format. This, of course, includes “bite-size” pieces of BI analysis and reporting delivered to mobile devices.

One organization presenting at IBIS showed how they were using InfoBurst to automatically send text messages to people when critical drug shipments were delivered or delayed. This may appear to be more operational than BI in nature but the reports that were triggering these text messages was a BusinessObjects Web Intelligence report analyzing thousands of shipments.

Another example from a few years ago was a healthcare company that wanted to send a weekly summary of patient billable services to each of the doctors performing the services. The doctors did not want to be sent an attachment or a link to click on, but just a simple summary sent inside the body of the email itself – a bite-size chunk of information they could consume in seconds!

To these recipients of actionable pieces of information, this is self-service BI.  In many organizations, there are people who are going to sit down and do “true” self-service data discovery and visualization, but for the time being, they remain the minority compared to the number of people in organizations that need bite sized data.

As Dresner’s 2021 survey clearly shows, BI reporting remains dominant and now people want the information in those reports intelligently analyzed, condensed, and delivered to them on their phones so they can consume and take action. The future of BI is here already.

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