Business Intelligence: 3 trends

With a 7% annual growth according to Gartner, the business intelligence market is outstripping most other segments in software development.

The sector’s strength is partly down to the democratisation of these tools, which are no longer the privilege of large groups, but are also tied to the dynamic and responsive nature of developers.

Market players have reacted with breakneck speed to technological advances and increasingly stringent demand. In 2015 has witnessed three trends that seem to emerge from this frantic evolution: data interpretation, foresight and leased solutions.

Intelligent dashboards

Since the explosion of big data processing techniques, many developers have been keen to harness this potential by transferring as much data as possible in real time to provide decision-makers the utmost information.

However, to maintain its role as a decision aid a solution should also be able to sort this information, allowing you can select and display a restricted amount of relevant and particularly useful data.

Automating this sorting process requires functions to interpret and rank indicators, but developing this requires a rare and highly-prized skillset.

Tools that stand out today are able to compile a compact dashboard that isolates some key figures relating to certain areas of development, specific to the situation at hand.

Users can then immediately identify the controls requiring critical attention or offering strategic opportunities at the very moment the tool is in use.

Forecasting and simulation

This demand generally responds to the need for more intelligent tools no longer used just to compile comprehensive balance sheets, but actively assist managers in strategic phases such as forecasting.

Applications used to plan or simulate a long-term activity within set parameters are becoming more reliable and capable of satisfying this need.

Initially developed in the financial field of business intelligence, these tools are now found in applications across every area of the sector.

In HR, for instance, a company can now simulate its operations and capacities in the different specialist fields it offers in order to plan recruitment in the long term.

The simulation features enable the impact of each control on past activity to be measured – what would have happened if I had made this decision; or on future activity – what would happen if I took this decision now – taking into account the relative progress of each parameter.

The benefits of each strategy are easily comparable, and the efficiency of making decisions increases considerably.

Business intelligence leased out

On top of big data, there is another technological revolution that has transformed business intelligence and, more broadly, the entire software sector… the wide availability of the Cloud.

In recent years, many professionals have changed their stance from categorically refusing to work with the Cloud to store their data and applications, to showing real interest in its benefits.

Significant psychological barriers have been overcome and many developers are now capitalising on a trend known as Software as a Service (SaaS) to provide large-scale and highly attractive solutions, given their simplicity and flexibility. Licences are gradually being replaced by subscriptions or pay per use, also responding to the high demand for mobility.

The decline of the mobile version has practically become the norm, and managing multichannel usage with applications stored in the Cloud is in fact more practical.

Business intelligence is adapting itself to the way everyone does things, and is increasingly being consulted on a whole range of devices.

It is also being adapted to the wealth of information out there, and prevents the risk of data-flow overload by becoming smarter and playing its part in interpreting data.