By Rick Ryan - Envisn, Inc.
At some point in the not too distant future we may well look back on this period as the golden age of business intelligence. BI is universally accepted as having value when it’s implemented successfully and used by people that know how to apply information effectively. Its challenge going forward is to get greater value from the ballooning levels of data in non-traditional segments. Some things to look for from IBM Cognos going forward will be:
- Strategy Centric BI – In a lot of organizations BI has been limited to giving functions and departments the information needed to do their jobs better. As business process improvements and functional improvements take place it becomes easier to link these together and realize the strategic value of BI. Where key performance indicators are used effectively they can be aligned to converge with the top level goals. Using it to tie performance together at the enterprise level is likely more about management and leadership than about tools.
- Location Intelligence – IDC estimates that 80 percent of data collected by companies has a spatial element to it and while its use has been around for a while now, the full integration of demographic, statistical and economic data by location in BI is relatively recent. Cognos is currently a leader in this area you can expect to see this get even more sophisticated particularly in the area of complex layering required when using multiple data sets.
- Mobile BI – The IPad is the single biggest factor behind the explosive growth in mobile BI and companies now need to design dashboards with mobile BI in mind. Cognos’ announcement last year of its BI app made a big splash. It now supports multiple platforms and ISV’s are developing customized mobile apps for it. At the end of 2011 about 20 percent of organizations had mobile BI and this is expected to reach 50 by the end of this year. Huge growth in only one year. Look for more from IBM in this space at or before IOD 2012 in October.
- In-Memory Analytics – (Think Cognos TM1) The impact of 64 bit, multi-core processors and declining RAM prices is driving down the cost of memory queries and the ability to calculate aggregates at query time. This capability of high speed time-to-results is a competitive differentiator for a number businesses and it will become even more common. This segment is going to have above average growth for IBM Cognos over the next 3 – 4 years.
- Big Data – While this is probably the most puffed up term in technology today, it’s still a big deal and here to stay. For me, the most interesting statistic that came out of IBM’s IOD event last year is that over 90 percent of the world’s data was produced in the last two years. Data sources are exploding at an exponential rate and the data will either be tossed or a way found to apply analytics more broadly to extract its value. A larger challenge is likely to be how to put these disparate sets of data on a common base to begin to apply analytics to them.
- Advanced Form Factors – The analytics available today are in many cases more advanced than the ability of the display (output) form factors to present results in a way that the potential impact of the results can be understood. Improved holistic displays and advanced visualization are needed to provide the insight required to get the full value of what the analytics can provide. Look for continuing improvement here to answer the basic question: What does it mean and how can I use it?
- Ease of Use – Referred to by some as the consumerization of BI, continuing progress in this area is essential to overcoming the perception that BI products are still geared towards analysts and power users. If BI is to become pervasive across organizations the analytics have to become easier to use. Cognos is clearly ahead in this area but needs to have more pre-defined apps and defined data sets if they are to continue gaining higher levels of BI adoption across the enterprise. Providing fact based decision making to all of lower and mid-level management has a large payoff that has yet to be realized.
What’s interesting about all of these is how they overlap. Ease of use, for example, is a critical factor to greater adoption of mobile BI. Advanced form factors will be needed to harness the wave of Big Data that’s coming. BI solutions need to evolve in all of them to be positioned for future growth.
Image by Hyku
© 2012 - Envisn, Inc. - Cognos BI Solutions – All rights reserved.