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“The cloud does level the playing field,” says Howard Dresner, founder and chief research officer for Dresner Advisory Services, a Nashua, N.H. company that focuses on business intelligence and related areas. “[Smaller companies] get the benefits of enterprise software without having to have the on-premises footprint and the staff that typically would be required.”
Dresner recently published its third annual study of business intelligence users and implementers. The percentage of organizations using public cloud BI in Dresner’s 2014 study increased more than 17 percent compared with 2013 and expanded more than 53 percent since 2012. Dresner’s Wisdom of Crowds Cloud Business Intelligence Market Study also notes that more than 75 percent of respondents surveyed say they consider cloud BI models at least somewhat important.
Mark Twain wrote that the difference between the right word and the almost-right word is like the difference between lightning and a lightning bug. In the world of business intelligence the word in question is “control.”
We discussed the issue of control at one of my Friday #BIWisdom tweetchats when someone asked whether there is a trend in BI control moving away from the IT group and to the business users. After all, this movement away from IT is happening in infrastructure, ERP and front-end technologies. IT is shifting to more of a supporting role rather than a driver mandating BI solution decisions.
We expand the data we collect annually in our Wisdom of Crowds® Market Study, and late last year we added a segment on key location intelligence issues. Location intelligence is a form of business intelligence where the dominant dimension used for analysis is location or geography. We added this area of study because there is growing demand among BI users for location intelligence functionalities, especially with the increased use of mobile devices. This benchmark study to determine where the use of location intelligence is headed revealed that vendor investment needs to catch up with user priorities.
Sparks usually fly in my #BIWisdom Friday tweetchats when we discuss what makes business intelligence initiatives and technology succeed or fail. Coming from different perspectives (users, vendors, consultants and other analysts), the tribe tweets with a laser focus on what they’ve seen in the BI trenches that turned out to be home runs or bungled efforts. In a recent discussion we tweeted about BI dos and don’ts.
A few of their gems:
Don’t view business intelligence technology as a silver bullet.
Do view BI as needing to be dynamic and changing to succeed in the long run.
Don’t choose (more) technologies before identifying problems to solve.
Do understand what skills the organization needs to develop, acquire or hire before finalizing the budget.
Don’t neglect connecting BI facts to actions; otherwise, you’ll just have a pretty dashboard.
At one of my recent Friday #BIWisdom tweetchat sessions, I posed two thought-provoking questions to the tribe:
Can independent business intelligence vendors survive against software providers that provide BI capabilities in the context of other applications?
Will there be massive consolidation in the BI market during 2014?
They plunged into the tweeted discussion with differing viewpoints.
First came tweets touting independent BI vendors’ critical distinctions. They provide focused analytical capabilities and the ability to think outside the enterprise box. Really serving users requires agility, and independents have the advantage there. Independent vendors can create data-specific services (such as weather apps or Twitter analytics) that complement mainstream BI. They create value by expanding the walled garden whereas mega vendors create value by building higher walls.
Someone tweeted that innovation is necessary for increasing penetration of BI solutions in organizations, and smaller independents are in a better position to innovate. Others chimed in: The emergence of new vendors suggests gaps left by the existing vendors — gaps in usability, functionality and cost.
Their first conclusion: Independents are absolutely necessary for pushing the incumbents. And independents fill niches faster. However, that makes them better targets for acquisition.