In my last article, we talked about how a new breed of Business Intelligence software is making it possible to create powerful dashboards without designing and maintaining a sophisticated data warehouse.
The changes going on in the Business Intelligence (BI) world are making it easier than ever before to create some fun dashboards and visual representations of data that get people’s attention and help them make better business decisions.
BI for Everyone
At the heart of the advance in BI software is the move to “democratize data.” Democratizing data is about making data accessible to the average end user in an organization. The goal is to make it possible to more easily access data without being an experienced IT person, and providing that data in a more visual way so the information is interactive and easy-to-understand.
BI for everyone, and the focus on self-service analytics, is making big changes in three areas:
- IT department supports rather than controls data and tools
- You can explore data and ask “natural language” questions
- Encourages better, faster business decisions
Let’s look at each one.
IT department supports access to data rather than controlling data
In this new BI world, the IT department encourages and supports a more self-service approach to data rather than controlling the data. Now they are beginning to make more information available to more non-technical people in the organization.
The IT department begins to reduce the amount of data being “locked down.” They coach and teach managers and others in the business how to use the new dashboard and visualization tools so that they can analyze data and use the insights to make better business decisions.
In larger organizations, this is a very new role for the IT department.
Using natural language to explore data
Most of the popular BI tools now provide the ability to “ask questions of your data.” The software then provides answers in the form of graphs, numbers, trend lines, etc. This is an incredibly powerful feature that will become better and better in the coming years.
I have an Alexa device in my home, and I am amazed almost daily by how fast I can ask for something using natural language and have the answer come back to me in a matter of seconds. Even typing a search in Google brings back answers with remarkable speed and accuracy.
This same technology is being applied now to business data.
It is in the early stages, but it is surprisingly useful. And it will improve and become even easier to use in the months to come.
Encourages better, faster business decisions
The goal of putting powerful data and visual insights in the hands of managers and staff is to help them make better, faster business decisions. As a business person, you have specific questions you want answers to and problems you are trying to solve. Imagine having easy-to-use tools where you can get answers fast without having to beg someone to create a report or analysis for you.
It puts you in a position to move faster to analyze and solve problems. It makes it easier to evaluate opportunities for improving profitability and cash flow. And it helps you act on those opportunities and solutions faster.
In years past, trying to buy and implement dashboard tools meant you had to design and plan a huge and expensive IT project. Not anymore.
BI software is changing and improving fast.
In my next article, I’ll show you the benefits of using these new BI tools to create mobile dashboards that are simple and easy to use and share. Now visual reports and dashboards can be made available anytime, anywhere, from any device.
I’ll show you how you can get a fun dashboard up and running in a matter of hours, not months.
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