Business Discovery has been around for a number of years. In fact, Gartner formally defined Data Discovery - their term for it - back in 2008. But QlikView which pioneered the space were doing it for a good 10 years prior to that. Business Discovery continues to be the hottest, fastest growing space in business intelligence and analytics. The question is: Why? What are the trends that are driving Business Discovery, causing organizations to adopt it and will continue to do so over the next few years?This presentation discusses 7 trends: 2 technology trends, 1 societal and demographic trend, and 4 business trends, which all suggest that Business Discovery remains relevant and will continute to evolve in concert with technological advancements.
The first technology trend is about removing the barriers between humans and computing power.
The most obvious instance of Unbound Human-Computer Interaction today is the prevalance of touch devices.If you think about it, a keyboard is a very unnatural way of dealing with computing power. It was developed for a mechanistic typewriter back in the 1840s. Putting touch-devices that allow us to play, feel, and interact with data for analytic purposes is amazingly compelling and incredibly powerful. QlikView is taking advantage of that trend.But as we move forward, we can expect that other forms of human-computer interactions such as speech and wearable devices will become popular. Anything an organization or we as a society can do to remove barriers and empower people to use computing power better is very important.A number of these technologies are mobile. The reality is that mobility has become ubiquitous. People expect to be able to access and interact with information wherever they are and on any device. They need to be able to make decisions using business discovery on the move in a way that is intuitive. But why does this matter?
It’s about getting you to think. It’s about firing up your neurons. It’s about making it natural for you to interact with data so that you can answer the next question. The more natural these interactions are, the more we are inclined to use them and leverage the insight and power that they can provide. Unbound human-computer interaction is really a strong driving force that is powered by Moore’s Law; or constantly increasing computing power.
The next thing that is changing in the world of technology is something we have have been facing for a long time but has recently gained significantly more traction. More specifically, an ongoing and accelarting data boom.
We are on the cusp of the ”Internet of Things”. In other words, we are experiencing an explosion of new data: sensor data, machine log data, social data. In essence, we are surrounded by data and it pervades all aspects of our lives. Intel predicts that by 2020, there will be 31 billion devices and 4 billion people connected to the Internet. That doesn’t just include mobile phones or tablet computers; it means more than that. More and more objects will be put online, including things such as internet-enabled cars. That doesn’t just mean that we will get better satellite navigation systems. Instead, imagine that your car will start to communicate its position, its velocity, its status to other cars around it, enabling machine-to-machine communication. Vast amounts of data will become available to us as analysts. But what do we do with all of this data?
Part of the equation is that through cost-effective computing in the cloud, we can store increasingly large data sets on commodity hardware using technology such as Hadoop or MongoDB. So we can store it, and it can be available to us in the cloud, but what do we do with it?That’s where business discovery comes in. Reality is that we want to be able to analyze our data. Today, data comes in myriad forms and at speeds that disrupt traditional BI approaches which are generally based on transactional data. What we need to be able to do is to separate the signal from the noise through interacting with and understanding the data. We need to consider outliers and looking at non-obvious relationships and associations – things that business discovery does very well.
The third change is about demographic and social change, namely the rise of user information activism.
We’ve got a new generation of workers entering the labor force who have all grown up with the World Wide Web, which is pretty much 20 years old. These people expect the ability to self-serve, to find the data they need at the speed that they want, in order to deliver relevance to themselves. Statistics show that these individuals are less likely to be passive with data and simply consume what they are given. The Bring Your Own Device trend is a perfect example of this. They want to have the facility to use the technology that they feel is best for the job and they have consumerized these expectations. They expect technologies to be natural and easy to use, they don’t want to read a manual. In that sense, you could say that we are experiencing a blurred lined between technologists and non-technologists; everyone is an IT professional nowadays. Users increasingly expect to be able to drive their own solutions and serve themselves. However, self-service implies restricted choices, pre-selected by someone else as in a self-service canteen. What these individuals want to be able to do is to put the ingredients together themselves, mashup information, collaborate socially, and be connected so that they are no longer sole voices.
This can be achieved through the use of visualization. People are not just using it to display and describe data but as a way of communicating a point and advocating an opinion. This will become even more prevalent as we move towards more open data sources such as .gov data. Those initiatives allow information activists to apply their frame of reference to data that is out there and we are seeing that with data-driven journalism and the increasing use of infographics. The sharp end of this trend is a movement called ”The Quantified Self” which is where people bring measurements of their individual activities into a data environment. How many cups of coffee have I had? How many miles have I run? How well did I sleep? How well are my children doing in school? That’s the extreme side of it but we can expect that as the exponentially accelerating data boom continues, the data around us as individuals will grow and compell us to all become information activists. It’s personal. It’s data about us. It’s personal analytics. So how are information activists driving business discovery? Business discovery gives people, whether as individuals or as part of corporate groups, the ability to be active, to express an opinion, to tell a story, to take a position, and to make decisions together.
The three previous technology and societal trends obviously have implications for IT departments and IT professionals as well. Some IT professionals might see these things as eroding their role, but it’s quite the opposite. It means that their role has to evolve and be less about direct control in order to be about enablement. In fact, the increasing importance of information actually causes an elevation of IT’s role within an organization.
The role of IT is transforming. In the new enterprise, the role of IT in business intelligence is not about creating all the dashboards and reports users might possibly need. Instead, IT’s role is about ensuring security, compliance and auditability and provisioning users with high-quality data, excellent performance, and self-service Business Discovery. IT shifts from being the providers of BI to serving as the enablers of BI. (Click)IT’s role in the past: gatekeeper. In this role, IT was tasked with making sure that enterprise systems were secure, scalable, reliable, cost-effective, efficient, resilient in times of trouble, and compliant with industry and government regulations. Business users went to IT for all their needs – from hardware to software to data to networking – and IT was often put in the position of being the “no” people. From a traditional end-user’s point of view IT held a virtual monopoly on corporate technology. Its domain was the back office, and its primary directive was to achieve a high level of operational efficiency.IT’s role in the future: storekeeper. (Click)In the role of storekeeper, IT becomes the “yes” people. IT becomes the proprietor of an IT store. Inside the store, IT manages mission-critical systems and master data. IT selectively exposes portions of these assets to users who need them as a foundation for solving problems. The storekeeper provides as much self-service as possible. And, importantly, instead of trying to manufacture or manage all use of technology throughout the organization, IT monitors activity taking place outside the store, staying on the lookout for new trends and business user-adopted technologies that could add value to the business in a broader way. IT then brings the most valuable of these into the store.By supporting communities of business users and moving away from the old gatekeeper role, the IT department becomes an enabler of productivity and a more direct partner in the business.
So if there is a general shift in the role of IT, that implies that the roles at the top of the heap must be evolving as well. In fact, the letters in the CIO title have changed; from Chief Infrastructure Officer in the 1990s, dealing with networks and communication; to Chief Information Officer; and now to Chief Innovation Officers focusing on how organizations drive innovation using information.So how does that relate to business discovery? Without technologies like business discovery, IT is too resource-constrained to deliver value and essentially becomes a bottleneck. The storekeeper model only helps if you have resources in place that people can buy and use effectively, which has elevated the status of the CIO.
But we must consider the elevated status of the CIO in a much broader context. There are two trends that are closely related:First, we must look at the ways in which organizations differentiate themselves through information exploitation.
Secondly, we must consider whether or not we can operate quickly enough to deliver the kind of value that orgnaizations need, when they need it, given the fact that business cycles are speeding up. For example, take the fashion industry. Fashion houses used to come out with new collections twice a year. But now, ”fast fashion” comes out weekly, based upon trends on the high street. As a result, particuarily in Europe, some of the existing department store and fashion houses have been replaced by a brand new group of fast-moving, fast-fashion organizations that are based on quick innovation cycles. So speed and agility are essential for survival!
If we consider corporate IT, we have spent the last 20 years spending money on ERP systems which are effectively there to improve the reliability of our organizations by streamlining and optimizing business processes. They enable us to operate as efficiently as we possibly can. But if we accept that all organizations are moving into a post-ERP world, how do they differentiate themselves now? The answer lies in how they obtain value from information, not how they run business processes. Whatwe are seeing is a shift in the main responsibility of IT: from transactional applications to analytics. In the post-ERP world, organizations differentiate based upon their analytic capabilities and by giving decision-makers what they need in order to make better decision through the use of things such as business discovery. In essence, organizations are starting to realize that they are affected by the sums of all the decisions that they make. That’s why business intelligence and analytics are the top priorities of CIOs and will remain so in the years to come.
We have discussed the context for the trends that are driving business discovery. But what does this mean for the transformation of analytics?
To use an automobile analogy: Until the rise of technologies like business discoovery, most organizations were driving with their rear-view mirror. However, we have seen the rise of the dashboard and the desire to anticipate the direction of their organization in the market. In essence, we are moving away from descriptive, to diagnostic and predictive analytics. The multiplier of analytic value come from connecting things that are unrelated, or concieved of as being unrelated, and finding the value between those things. So we are moving away from rear-view mirror driving.
What does that mean for how organizations view business intelligence and analytics? We expect that they will rebalance it. Most of the effort in the 2000s around business intelligence was decription such as reporting the situation using rows and columns of data. What we are seeing today and as we move toward 2020 is a rebalancing. Organizations are spending less of their BI budget on reporting tools and more on description and diagnostics, on understanding the situation, and enabling people to interact with data through visualization and association. Having been one of the organizations that have driven this change, QlikTech is really a pioneer in this space.
The trends discussed in this presentation are all driving the transformation of business discovery. From a technology point of view we can expect more and more unbound human-computer interaction, and certainly more and more data stored in a plethora of ways, coming at an increased speed. There is no doubt that from a societal point of view, we are in the midst of changing our relationship with information all the time, especially how quickly we access it and what we do with it. Consider maps: they used to be something you looked at on a relatively infrequent basis. Now we use them all the time. People are far much more active with all forms of information. This is a major social trend. Because of these three trends, we are seeing an impact on business. We are seeing the role of IT changing, from being a gatekeeper to an enabler. We are seeing an elevation of the centrality of information based on the need to differentiate and doing so quickly. That is leading to a transformation of analytics, away from reporting and description, to giving decision-makers an intuitive way of exploring, associating, and visualizing data. And those are the seven trends that are driving business discovery and will continute to do so in the years to come.
7 industry trends driving business discovery
Seven Trends Driving
Summary: Seven Trends Driving
Unbound Human Computer Interaction
An Accelerating, Exponential Data Boom
The Rise of User Information Activism
The Evolving Role of IT
Competitiveness Via Information Exploitation
The Need for Speed and Agility
The Transformation of Analytics