Find articles and interviews containing content from Howard.
Editor’s note: Is the growth of mobile business intelligence flat, ready for takeoff or growing beyond expectations? What are the current business preferences for the various mobile apps and platforms? How is cloud computing impacting mobile BI? These and many other trends are revealed in the 2014 Mobile Computing / Mobile Business Intelligence Market Study recently published by Dresner Advisory Services. I spoke with Howard Dresner about the study’s findings and what’s really happening in mobile BI.
Nobody likes audits. But ensuring data quality is foundational to all business intelligence endeavors. How can a business make quality decisions with poor quality data? A tribe member in one of my weekly #BIWisdom tweetchats mentioned he read an article about a survey finding that 80 percent of companies claim they deal with poor data quality, yet less than 52 percent of those companies consider doing a data quality audit. Those statistics sparked a boisterous bunch of tweets with opinions and questions from BI users, consultants and vendors including:
“How could the respondents in that study claim poor quality if they didn’t audit it? Is quality simply a matter of perception?”
“No, it’s not perception. Data quality has been proven to be a dependency for success or failure in BI initiatives – whether or not it’s called out as the underlying factor.”
“So shouldn’t the precursor to any BI initiative be a data quality audit? Otherwise, the outcomes may be flawed.”
“Data quality is important, but it shouldn’t impede the initial progress of self-service data discovery. Then when you have potentially interesting through self-service data discovery, then you add data quality governance.”
“It’s impossible to always have good data on the front end; there are too many exceptions and shortcut coding.”
“But you can’t edit all the data. What about unstructured data and also external data?”
“The idea is to identify the Key Data Elements and focus on those during the audit.”
“The necessity for data quality should depend on the impact of the potential decision.”
“Who is responsible for pushing the audit – IT, line of business, top executives?”
“LOBs need to be able to see where strategic failures come from. If data quality is suspect, then they should demand an audit.”
Last month when I spoke to Carsten Bange, CEO of BARC and co-author of its BI Survey 14, he positioned mobile business intelligence as a trend that generated lots of hype but had experienced little traction in the enterprise.
Yet the latest study on mobile BI by Dresner Advisory Services – which, like BARC, does annual surveys – shows a more consistent interest in mobile business intelligence. While the percentage of respondents who called mobile BI “very important” or “critical” dipped briefly in 2013, Howard Dresner, the firm’s founder and CEO, said the number “recovered and then some” in 2014.
In addition, he said, in 2014 respondents made business intelligence their number two priority for mobile applications, trailing only email. “The ambition moving forward is pretty strong,” he said.
The relative maturity of mobile business intelligence has made companies “more circumspect about it,” Dresner said. “I think they understand it better now, so they are taking a more balanced approach.”
There have been “bumps in the road” along the way to mobile business intelligence, Dresner acknowledged, but he expects to see deployments grow in the next few years as companies make decisions about key application development and infrastructure issues. For example, he believes many organizations are moving toward a hybrid development model that will encompass both HTML5, which facilitates cross-platform development, and native applications, which offer the most robust user experience.
In terms of applications running on mobile devices, business intelligence (BI) has always held the most promise in terms of opportunity for solution providers in the channel. Perhaps most significant to the channel is the fact that most mobile BI applications continue to be tightly connected to internal servers, creating a variety of integration opportunities. New research looks at trends in mobile BI deployment plans and user priorities. According to a survey of 275 executives conducted by the market research firm Dresner Advisory Services, BI has nudged out calendaring for the first time as the second most important mobile application following email. The survey also finds that, in terms of mobile computing platforms, Microsoft is starting to gain mind share even though Apple continues to dominate the category. The study also indicates that interest in enterprise-grade app stores is definitely on the rise. Channel Insider examines key takeaways from the study.
With more organizations investing in analytics, it was only a matter of time before the industry started talking about the rise of a chief analytics officer.
A survey of 317 business and IT executives from the International Institute of Analytics, created at the behest of Dell, found that organizations with a high degree of analytical maturity are more likely to have a chief analytics officer, or someone with a similar title charged with collecting and managing an organization’s analytics efforts. The survey also found that organizations are investing more to achieve that maturity, with two-thirds of mid-market organizations devoting more than $100,000 to analytics in 2014; a similarly large portion of enterprise organizations invested $500,000 or more.
But what’s not clear is whether the role of “chief analytics officer” will become a widespread one, in the manner of CFO, CMO, or even CEO. There’s always the possibility that the appearance of chief analytics officers is a temporary response to a perceived need by organizations to have someone capable of wrangling an ever-increasing amount of data, rather than continuing to rely on the gut instincts of executives who, while experienced, don’t necessarily possess the necessary analytics background.
Howard Dresner, principal for Dresner Advisory Services, suggested that, while there is no doubt that organizations which build formal “centers of analytics excellence” (whether people or divisions) generally perform better than those that don’t, creating a chief analytics officer position might prove counterproductive. “I think that may be asking too much of one person,” he said. “What you want is for the responsibility for analytics to be pushed down into the entire organization.”