Earlier Generation BI Needs A Tune Up

Business intelligence has gone through multiple iterations in the past few decades. While BI's evolution has addressed some of the technology and process shortcomings of the earlier management information systems, BI teams still face challenges. Enterprises are transforming only 40% of their structured data and 31% of their unstructured data into information and insights. In addition, 63% of organizations still use spreadsheet-based applications for more than half of their decisions. Many earlier and current enterprise BI deployments:

  • Have hit the limits of scalability.
  • Struggle to address rapid changes in customer and regulatory requirements.
  • Fail to break through waterfall's design limitations.
  • Suffer from mismatched business and technology priorities and languages.

Agile BI And Big Data Deliver Parts Of The Solution

BI pros have not been resting on their laurels. Over the past few years, they have started to embrace and deploy multiple new approaches and technologies to address the limitations of earlier BI environments. Two of the most recent technology and process enhancements to BI have the potential to offer great value, but they still come up short if BI pros pursue them as two separate paths.

  • Agile BI addresses the fast pace of change by empowering business users. Unfortunately, most Agile BI initiatives aren't connected to big data initiatives; different projects and constituents often deploy and use them. The result: Enterprises fail to tap up to 60% of structured data and up to 69% of unstructured data for decisions and insight.
  • Big data expands the 360-degree view of customers. However, most big data architectures and platforms still fall in the realm of technology and data science professionals, leaving business users highly dependent on expensive technical resources.

Systems Of Insight Come To The Rescue

Earlier this year, Forrester introduced the concept of systems of insight, which sits alongside systems of record, systems of automation, and systems of engagement. We define systems of insight as:

The business discipline and technology to harness insights and consistently turn data into action.

Forrester sees these systems of insight as the natural evolution of BI, as it involves applying all of the BI best practices that AD&D professionals have accumulated in the past two decades. While systems of insight require a significant strategic shift — including moving from IT to business technology (BT), embracing the priorities of the age of the customer, and emphasizing business agility — the payback can be tremendous. Read the full report to see how BI pros can help their firms further close the gaps between earlier BI and systems of insight by