1: Self Service Business Intelligence Trends
Business Intelligence Trends and as an industry in constant flux. Tools we used 5-10 years ago are obsolete or considered inadequate for today’s data-minded business. Mobile technologies such as the iPhone smartphone have altered how we consume and produce data. Powerful names such as SAP have absorbed companies such as Business Objects to acquire Crystal Reports and have gone on to create product such as HANA. HANA is an In-Memory appliance that allows the aggregation of huge volumes of data and produce results in speeds most would have considered impossible 10 years ago. Within the Business Intelligence space we have specialty vendors such as Tableau, QlikView, and TIBCO Spotfire – bringing in what is known as Self-Service BI: visual solutions that allow a business more access to data and empowering them to build out agile dashboards and metrics without too much help from a developer. Of course, notables such as MicroStrategy or IBM Cognos have not fallen off the map. They have innovated as well toward this new agile frontier of tools that provide technology that is now the bread and butter of reporting and ad-hoc analysis.
2: Device Agnostic Visual BI
Visual Discovery of data is a Business Intelligence Trend that has become the hallmark of Business Intelligence, and the push to tablets and cellphones as consumption mediums for this new Business Intelligence technology has brought data to individuals in a quick, timely, and effective manner. What may have taken hours to build and adjust is now done in seconds. Excel templates and macros that used to rule our lives are giving way to augmented technology from Microsoft such as Power Viewer and Power Pivot. Of course, the world of Business Intelligence on a micro level is not as simple. Every business has their own nuances in their data and key performance indicators that are unique to that business vertical.
On a macro level, however, the introduction of Self-Service BI has enabled Predictable Business Intelligence to emerge more prominent. What used to be the realm of hardcore Statisticians are giving way to a group of individuals devoted to modeling your business to save you money and time. Programs such as Tableau now include R-Stats and provide simplistic forecasting tools to understand where your business is headed.
Where does Tableau fit in?
Focusing on Tableau as an example, Tableau has Data Sensing features built into the software to quickly suggest possible methods of viewing your data. This suggestive graph feature allows you to quickly compile and view possible viewing combinations getting you started without worrying about the consequences. If there is ever something wrong, you can use the undo button or try another graph type. This flexibility will help you to visualize data in ways that may not have been come to mind.
Once you connect the data to Tableau, you can also create new measures and calculations as well as run in table calculations to surface variance, average, ratios and other useful KPI’s that your business runs on. These calculations can then be saved to the Tableau Server; deployed locally on your own network for others to use as well as view the data you have created.
Data refreshing from all sorts of sources is easy by scheduling the data source you have shared on the server to refresh the data. All data is stored on the server and can be quickly accessed through Tableau’s In Memory Engine. This In Memory engine will store and process everything in your computers RAM and not your hard drive allowing for extremely speedy visualizations to be rendered.
Tableau also has the ability to connect to Cloud based data stores such as Google Analytics which can be very useful if you have an online store or a website that is connected to a CRM for sales pipeline capture.
Last but not least, Tableau has a web designer for its visualizations as well as a native mobile app for the iOS iPad and Android Tablets. This allows you to be anywhere and “device agnostic” to get the job done whenever or wherever you need it.
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