There is a fundamental shift in the way organizations conduct business intelligence and the tools they use to do it. Traditional business intelligence software is slowly being replaced by solutions where analytic content is authored throughout the organization, not just in IT. We call it “pervasive business intelligence.” While this shift has been happening for a while now, Gartner declares it’s reached a tipping point and calls these solutions “modern” platforms, characterized by a shift away from IT to business users.
So what’s wrong with traditional business intelligence software? Simply put, many organizations understand only a small fraction of what they need to make decisions. A Forrester study found that 50% of business decisions are made with desktop-bound productivity tools. These tools, like point solutions and data silos, often leave the broader picture unaddressed. Users are forced to rely on their own version of the data and make isolated decisions. Executives become skeptical of data that creates conflicting narratives—leading to confusion instead of good decisions. In fact, a Bain survey of 325 global companies found that 59% of decision makers don’t trust they’re making the best data-based decisions.
By 2018, Gartner predicts most business users and analysts will have access to self-service tools to perform their own analytics, leaving behind their reliance on IT and the project slowdowns associated with it. This shift will not mean a sole focus on self-service, however. It will mean enabling self-service to thrive in a secure, governed environment managed by IT. An environment where data models, business logic, and nitty-gritty analysis are available to and trusted by the folks that need them.
For some organizations, such a platform ideally lives in the cloud, but for a majority a cloud deployment isn’t an option. Regulatory compliance and data integrity concerns—among other things—prevent most from making that leap. For these organizations, an on-premise analytic platform is the clear choice.
The balance of self-serve analytics with centralized governance is most powerful when collaboration is optimized. True collaboration, across datasets and reports, is more than just sharing context, it’s about reusing business logic (custom calculations and sets) to drive consistency throughout the organization. Pervasive business intelligence is about enabling users—from power users to knowledge workers to decision makers—to bring data together (regardless of subject area or source), conduct deep analysis, collaborate with others, and distribute their findings on their own. Traditional business intelligence tools can’t do this.
In the end, pervasive business intelligence is about an enterprise environment that engages more users, increases efficiencies, and makes better decisions. Self-service functionality that caters to business users draws them in, reduces training, and ends the wait for projects in the IT queue. Because the analytic platforms necessary for pervasive business intelligence are accessed in a secure, governed environment, confusion, and inefficiencies are replaced with better decisions. In this data-saturated world, pervasive business intelligence is not an option; it’s a necessity for organizations seeking to be data-driven.
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