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Editor’s note: Since 2007 Dresner Advisory Services has conducted a series of comprehensive annual Wisdom of Crowds® studies to reveal end-users’ real-world perspectives on the business intelligence (BI) market including drivers, how companies use BI, vendor rankings and buyer guides along with analysis of trends. In 2014 the company conducted its inaugural Wisdom of Crowds® Advanced and Predictive Analytics market study as collaboration with fellow industry expert Neil Raden. I spoke with chief research officer Howard Dresner about this growing analytics phenomenon in BI.
How do you define “advanced and predictive analytics?”
Howard Dresner: Advanced and predictive analytics is the ability to analyze current and historical facts to make predictions about future or unknown events or business aspects. It includes statistics, modeling, machine learning and data mining to analyze facts to make the predictions.
Editor’s Note: Dresner Advisory Services is renowned for its in-depth Wisdom of Crowds® Business Intelligence Market Study series. I spoke with Howard Dresner about some of the trends and major findings in two of his 2014 reports recently published — the third annual Cloud BI and Collaborative BI market studies.
COLLABORATIVE BUSINESS INTELLIGENCE
Has buyer/user interest in collaborative capabilities in business intelligence increased since your 2013 market study?
Howard Dresner: The interest in collaborative BI is strong and is up after a dip in 2013. In fact, more than 60 percent of the study’s respondents reported that the collaborative capability is, at minimum, “important.” We consider this as very positive, especially as it takes place amid high-visibility topics such as Big Data and social media. And I’ve seen a lot more collaborative BI products and capabilities in the market in the last nine months.
The increased interest in collaborative BI makes sense because data becomes more useful as it’s shared. Insight built collaboratively adds value faster and has better buy-in.
Innovative organizations report deeper penetration of business intelligence and better data governance, according to a new study from Dresner Advisory Services.
The report, the “2014 Business Intelligence (BI) Emerging Technologies Market Study,” is part of the Wisdom of Crowds Series of Research by the firm. It provides a compilation of the most noteworthy trends in cloud BI, collaborative BI and location intelligence.
“The new BI Emerging Technologies Market Study provides an alternative lens through which we can examine how pioneering organizations are refining and evolving their methods for harnessing BI to obtain strategic and operational gains,” Howard Dresner, founder and chief research officer at Dresner Advisory Services, said in a statement. “For example, we see that innovative organizations are especially likely to pay attention to middle managers when deploying BI, and also look to provide suppliers and customers with BI tools,” Dresner said.
Count salesforce.com (NYSE: CRM ) among those doing more to cash in on analytics and business intelligence. Last week, the company unveiled Salesforce1 Mobile Reports & Dashboards to enable better access and visualize critical information on iOS and Android devices.
Importantly, the software does more than present static reports. Users can drill down through multiple layers of real-time business data to investigate problems, create visuals that express their findings, and quickly share the data with others on their team. This is exactly what you’d expect from a stand-alone business intelligence platform for on-the-go staff responsible for meeting revenue targets.
A shifting market
The features come at an interesting time for owners of Salesforce stock. Research firm Gartner says that, while the overall BI and analytics software market grew just 8% in 2013, to $14.4 billion, the technology remains a priority.
Is there room for Salesforce in a crowd like this? Longtime business intelligence industry tracker Howard Dresner seems to think so. “Since 2010, our research has shown that salespeople are the most obvious candidates for mobile business intelligence,” Dresner said in an email interview. “While perhaps creating some competitive tension in the space, it also vastly expands the numbers of BI users that would otherwise have no access to valuable and actionable insights.”
In one of the all-time movie classics, “Back to the Future,” teenager Marty McFly (played by Michael J. Fox) is thrust accidentally 30 years into in the past and seeks advice on how to get back to his present-day life. In one scene, Doc Brown gives prescriptive advice to Marty as he gets into the DeLorean car about to speed down the street: “Don’t worry. As long as you hit that wire with the connecting hook at precisely 88 miles an hour, the instant the lightning strikes the tower … everything will be fine!”
The parameters of the advice had all the signs of being too difficult to lead to the desired outcome. But Marty trusted Doc Brown. It reminds me a little of what’s happening today in the area of prescriptive business intelligence. Companies must trust the source data for prescriptive BI in the context of the decision to be made (context being the key word). And a modern decision management system must have flexibility.
I tossed a question out recently to the tribe on Twitter at one of my Friday #BIWisdom tweetchats. “As we all know, the business intelligence market constantly seeks higher ground, and prescriptive analytics certainly qualifies. How different is prescriptive analytics from decision management?” And how does it differ from predictive analytics?