Last week I spoke with Lyndsay Wise, president and founder of WiseAnalytics, an independent analyst firm that focuses on business intelligence and business performance management.
This tough economy, as well the increasing role of Web 2.0 and master data management are certainly topics on people's minds today, and Wise addressed each of them in our conversation. Listen to this podcast for her take on how these areas are converging with and affecting business intelligence.
Listen to or download the 6:13 podcast below:
How can BI help organizations during the current economic downturn, and what solutions are out there?
That's really a great question especially because it's so pertinent today. Because of the economic downturn, people in general are tightening their belts. So what this means is that it becomes even more important for organizations and decision-makers to justify their spending, to be able to do more with less, and still try as well to plan for growth and maintain their current market share. So what BI does is it really helps with this.
Whether an organization want to analyze trends or identify potential pipelines - sales pipelines, identified even opportunity that's within the market, the fact remains that Business Intelligence lets organizations see more broadly what the organization is doing and how they're performing so they can really be able to obtain these goals much easier than without Business Intelligence.
However, because traditionally BI was thought of being time consuming to implement and expensive as well, a lot of organizations have shied away from even considering these solutions but now, there are so many more flexible solutions available. So for instance, organizations can select pre-built solutions whether it's for sales, or marketing, or customer experience that are built specifically to identify trends or analyze issues within those areas.
As well, organizations can also get you Software-as-a-Service and have the vendor offer BI as a service so that there's really no upfront time to implement and fees can be as low as $50 per user per year depending on the solution suggested. And then, the third option that's really a lower cost quick time to implement, in downloading software from the Internet so all of these are really options for organizations to consider in this type of economic downturn.
How are Web 2.0 and BI converging and how will BI change or evolve as a result in the next few years?
Because of so much more in terms of Web 2.0, and social networking, and social media, BI has really become more flexible and user-friendly. So beforehand, Business Intelligence was really used by a super user or developed in-house by a technical team. Now, there are many more flexible options. So for instance, organizations can have online collaboration, they can use widgets, they can incorporate data mashups, they can start to use market analysis, and social networking analysis within their BI applications to be able to identify what people are saying about their products and services and how this compares with competitors, etc.
So really, in terms of the convergence of Web 2.0 and BI, more flexibility is existing and aside from that, organizations are now able to use Business Intelligence the way they would other applications. So for example, we saw this with search being embedded in BI a couple of years ago, so that organizations could really take advantage and start to look for information that might not have been easily accessible. What this means in terms of how BI will continue to change is that these types of advancement will continue and then be integrated inside the overall operation. So BI will become more interactive and flexible and also more intuitive.
What's the increasing role played by Master Data Management or MDM and where does the data governance fit into that?
Sure, that's a really great question too. MDM is actually gaining popularity because organizations are starting to realize even more the importance of managing their data and creating a centralized access point to information so that they can maintain that information and access the right information at the right time.
Also, MDM is also becoming holistic and less focused on only customers or products. So consequently, what this means is that the role of information management is becoming more strategic as organizations and departments integrate how their information relates to their business problems as well as what implications of not properly managing data are. So the typical example used is how organizations will fit send out multiple mailings to customers. But personal example, for instance, is that when I moved from one apartment to another and I was changing my internet service, I had to call the company to get it hooked up. And what they do is that they created new account.
So what that means is that when I started paying my bills, it was all being allocated to the old account because it wasn't hooked up to the new account. So what happened is I only found out once I got a notice that I wasn't paying my bills. So there was a lot of confusion there and it took a while to fix up. So this for one person might be fine but if it happens on a large scale it's not necessarily okay and it could affect customer retention or customer satisfaction.
And because of the way they economic downturn is in the market is, as well as competition, need to identify how to better manage their data. And in terms of how this fits in with data governance, organizations are starting to integrate and manage data by creating ownership of data entities and actually increasingly developing corporate initiatives that surround those entities and this directly relates to managing the overall information that resides in the organization and how MDM fits within as well.