Consumerisation of IT fuels self-service BI

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Business intelligence (BI) is rapidly growing at a 7% compound annual growth rate, and is increasingly moving towards a self-service approach.

This is the view John Callan, senior director for global product marketing at QlikTech, who presented on user-driven BI during today's ITWeb BI Summit that took place at The Forum, in Bryanston.

“BI is typically in the top five priority list, if not the top priority for CIOs worldwide. Organisations are using data as the raw material to assist them in the decision-making process that requires them to be agile.”

Callan indicated that there is a trend towards BI acting as a support platform. “It's about trying to make sense of all this data, where people are more empowered, mobile and have different expectations on the software they're using.

“The consumerisation of BI doesn't reduce the importance of IT in an organisation, but rather empowers IT to focus on a business' core competences.

“Business users are bringing in their iPads, iPhones and Android devices into the workplace and expect to be as productive in the consumer world as they would in the business world. They want to have their analytics and reports regardless of where they are,” explained Callan.

He pointed out that self-service BI is not new in the BI world; however, it has fallen short of expectations because it is difficult to manage. He said the need for self-service BI has not gone away; it's actually growing.

“Business discovery is inherently self-service BI. Self-service is worrying for IT, because security, governance and data access is at risk. These are real concerns for IT.

“I think the role of IT is changing in BI in terms of business discovery. There's a shift away from going with a big bang purchase approach of BI, where, for a variety of reasons, departments are looking to be more agile, and the purchasing cycle is more focused on a departmental level.”

While data is a key component of the decision-making process, it's not the only component, cautioned Callan. He said context and people are just as important in a BI process. “Social business discovery brings people into the application itself; it's about having adaptations within the application that is asynchronous, where people can collaborate within the application itself.”

According to Callan, business users are increasingly using unstructured data that resides outside of their firewalls such as data from Facebook, Twitter and Google. Yet he points out that it's important for organisations to be able to merge this data with multiple sources.

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