Once again BI adoption is pretty much static at 22% (a little down on last year’s 24%, but probably statistically flat)
As I have written about time and time again in this blog, my strong feeling is that the reason for this flat-lining of BI adoption is that we have saturated the “analyst” BI market and we are going about “end-user” BI in the wrong way (hint: force-feeding analyst BI to end-users has failed in the past and is not going to succeed in the future).
Over the past 10-15 years, the BI market has sold over and over to people who want to do their own analysis (think end-user query, ad-hoc BI, self-service reporting, data discovery, …) in essence each wave made it easier for the same people (analysts) to get better access to information.
Don’t get me wrong, analysts (and all forms of analyst BI) have a key role to play in the BI strategy of any organization, but they make up less than half the picture (actually less than 25% of the picture given Cindi’s survey).
To get beyond 25% adoption, we need to consider the end-user who does not think in terms of analysis or data discovery, but just wants relevant information to drive their everyday activities.
The good news is that I can see momentum building towards a new, complementary approach.
Eric Vallo summed it up for me a few days ago on his blog. After pointing out that
“~80% of users … just want to be told what data to use to make a decision and … to go on their merry way”
he says that:
“The really innovative BI vendors are going to deliver tools that … make it RIDICULOUSLY EASY to proliferate BI to the masses so that it integrates into their day-to-day routines so that they don’t even know they are using BI”.
This is exactly what we are trying to do at Antivia. DecisionPoint empowers one set of people (BI professionals and analysts) to quickly and easily deliver ridiculously easy to use BI content to the wider end-user community, which in turn gives them information in the flow of their everyday business (as Timo Elliott is bored of me saying, just like the BBC weather site).
Another encouraging trend for us is that a number of our recent customers have bought DecisionPoint to “complement their Tableau implementation”. Tableau is the undisputed king (or queen) of Data Discovery, but these happy Tableau customers want something to work alongside their existing investment to distribute information more widely to the non-analyst community.
There is also cause for optimism in Cindi’s survey results. The number one BI priority for her respondents was “dashboards”, and interactive dashboard applications are the best way to deliver end-user BI. In addition, Cindi’s survey recorded a marked improvement in the adoption of Mobile BI (up to 48%). I bet a pound to a penny that this is because on mobile, most business users want their BI packaged in the style of a no-training required iPad app, which represents a move away from yet more “Data Discovery”.
To those who object to this because they feel that end-users should be building their own BI, I would say three things:
1) Think of your sales team, do you want them building BI and “discovering” new things in the data or do you want them selling based on information which they can access as easily as a weather forecast (e.g. what to sell, where, to whom)
2) Self-service BI should be like self-service food. Think about it, you are never shown into the kitchen in a self-service restaurant.
3) There is a new wave of BI on the horizon, driven by the expectations set by consumer access to information through web sites, mobile apps – no need for analysis just quick, packaged access to information
Analyst BI in general and Data Discovery in particular are important but they are not enough, they need to be complemented by an alternative data delivery mechanism which is as easy to use as consumer information sources, available on desktop and mobile devices and quick and easy to build on top of existing corporate data stores. Something like DecisionPoint, why not request a test-drive to see for yourself?