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Business intelligence (BI) solutions have, over the past few years, firmly established themselves as among the most valuable IT services a company can invest in. These tools have advanced significantly, enabling organizations in every industry to glean useful insight from robust, diverse data sets.
As several industry experts recently highlighted, however, there is reason to believe that BI technology is effectively outpacing consumption rates. Simply put, companies are obtaining top-of-the-line BI resources, but employees are not using these tools as much as they can or should.
The BI consumption gap
Speaking at the Gartner Business Intelligence and Information Management Summit in Sydney, industry expert Dr. Rado Kotorov argued that businesses may need to do more to bridge the gap between analysts and other staff when it comes to BI consumption, ZDNet reported.
"We always interpreted BI and analytics as a job everyone had to do, which isn't wrong. But the difference is analysts go through the analytics and data from an analysis perspective and often take their time, while professionals make their decisions based on tacit professional knowledge," said Kotorov, according to the news source.
For firms to become as efficient and productive as possible, BI usage must become significantly more widespread. Specifically, Kotorov emphasized the need to ensure that employees have access to corporate information and BI results, and also know what to do with this insight. If personnel lack access or awareness, these IT services cannot yield effective results.
"We have tools such as applications and content management systems that allow business [intelligence] users to self-service themselves with information that is important to them," Kotorov explained, the news source reported.
But these capabilities are only useful if employees not only know how to leverage them, but are also sufficiently motivated to do so. Business leaders and IT personnel need to take the time to explain to employees how advanced BI solutions can vastly improve their day-to-day work lives.
These points were recently reinforced by industry expert Marius Moscovici. Writing for Tech Zone 360, Moscovici noted that businesses are spending hundreds of millions of dollars on BI efforts, but oftentimes these organizations see little return on their investments. He pointed out that a recent BI Scorecards study found that only 18 percent of employees utilize available BI solutions.
To overcome this problem, Moscovici asserted that firms must make BI interfaces and the information they contain more personalized for individual workers. He explained that dashboards, which he categorizes as part of the second wave of BI developments, were attractive, but didn't really account for the user experience. This is what has caused so many firms to see little return on their BI investments
Now, he explained, companies are beginning to produce what he calls BI 3.0 solutions. These tools are more integrated, allowing employees to access BI insight from within the apps and programs they already use. As a result, employees can gain the benefits of BI solutions without radically adjusting the way they conduct their jobs. Furthermore, Moscovici noted that the latest types of BI tools will deliver BI insight to users at relevant times, making the IT services even more valuable.