Big Data without Business Intelligence is like Jelly without Ice Cream

29 Nov

Shvetank Shah, executive director at advisory firm CEB, says “that the future of technology is here and now, and to maintain competitive advantage, CIOs need to understand what’s coming down the pipeline.” He discusses how mobile technologies, cloud computing and business intelligence (BI) will be critical in the future of technology and that these areas should be on top of the mind of CIOs. Mobile technologies and cloud computing have been discussed in length by myself and my fellow bloggers in previous posts so I am going to discuss business intelligence.

As we entered 2012, big data (as explained here) analysis was the main focus of CIOs – how to make sense of this wealth of information in order to maintain, enhance and expand the business. With big data analysis, attention also turned to business intelligence, I mean, what good is big data if it cannot be understood and used to its full potential.

“Business intelligence is an umbrella term that includes the applications, infrastructure and tools, and best practices that enable access to and analysis of information to improve and optimize decisions and performance” (Gartner). Enterprise business intelligence applications and technologies have the ability to support companies in making targeted and appropriate decisions at a time when good business judgement can make or break an organisation. BI applications are highly varied and adaptable, and thus they can target enterprise goals broadly or meet a specific purpose. For example, they can be built for enterprise-wide use or for a single department.

In an Intel White Paper, Intel IT claim to be laying the technical and business foundations for deploying advanced business intelligence solutions across the enterprise. They firmly believe that advanced analytics can greatly improve the ability to respond to market changes quickly and transform Intel’s business.

Intel IT is working in close partnership with Intel business groups to help them envision new ways of using business intelligence to improve insight, decision making, and business velocity. They identify several proofs of concept (PoCs) that illustrate the power of BI including a:

• Batch computing algorithm that proactively predicts when product design jobs will fail.

• Information security dashboard that helps track and respond to malware threats.

• Predictive engine that enables early detection of product quality problems on our manufacturing lines.

This is the future of BI.

Intel IT’s goal is to develop analytical models that are reusable across multiple lines of business. Intel IT believe that their “small BI solution design teams can deliver about USD 5 to 10 million in value for every six-month advanced- analytics project focused on solving high-impact business problems.”

However, they also envisage infrastructure and technical challenges, as well as behavioural challenges. These include:

  • Enabling collaborative, mobile, and visual BI. This will allow employees to interact with information how they want, where they want, and when they want. This raises user interface and security protocol issues we must resolve; and
  • Investing in new skills within IT to develop advanced BI solutions, including constructing analytical models, supporting use of unstructured data, developing mobile applications, and presenting information in a visual format. In addition, business groups (i.e. the end users) will need to learn how to consume, interpret, and trust more sophisticated analytical information, for example.

Information projects are in resurgence again as we’re beginning to exhaust the process opportunities. Most Fortune 500 companies have done their big ERP which have been going on since the 1990s. The real action is in business intelligence at the moment, as well as collaboration (as I’ve discussed here) and anything at the customer interface. All of these trends line up with information and analytics, which business intelligence will continue to play a huge role in now and in the future.






One Response to “Big Data without Business Intelligence is like Jelly without Ice Cream”

  1. ismisetusa November 29, 2012 at 3:55 pm #

    do you still see the responsibility of information projects landing on the CIOs, as you quoted
    ‘As we entered 2012, big data (as explained here) analysis was the main focus of CIOs ‘

    should the focus of CIOs remain here?

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