The business intelligence solutions have passed a long time ago the infancy level. A quick internet search will show that the so called “business data transformation software – from raw numbers in executive intelligence info” easily generates more than 8 million hits. The sub-it field has grown from the smallest (yet somehow brightest) child into the high-end conductor of all of the other enterprise software solutions (from ERPs to CRMs or more specialized tools).
A recent survey from the enterprise solutions analysis market leader Gartner captures in an interesting manner this evolution, whilst ranking the various business intelligence (BI) solutions on the market:
As one “financial manager” veteran could quickly notice, the majority of the above listed BI platforms did not exist or were in pure infancy 10 years ago.
Yet, the business intelligence solutions have a long way to go ahead. The “Simplicient Controlling” blog undertook a status research on the BI’s promises and deliveries.Whilst they came a long way, there is still more to go. The future of the controller is yet even brighter – the BI solutions will continue to relieve the finance leaders from extracting and cleaning the companies’ data wealth. Instead, the business intelligence semi-automated software solutions will continue to empower the controllers and shift their work towards meaningful commercial analysis, coupled with the highly sought-after financial consulting skills. So, “Simplicient Controlling” sought to capture the BI current status and evolution with three essential questions:
1.What can the business intelligence platforms deliver today?
– manual tasks automation (classical MS Excel data clean-up);- integration with data sources: ERP, CRMs etc. (without the need of intermediary MS Office solutions);- semi-automatic ETL data (from the databases realm – the model of Extract-Transform-Load is a current option of all BIs);
– semi-automatic integration with multiple data sources (most BIs can blend in-house corporate data cubes with external web public data);
– basic intelligent data shaping (e.g. data type detection, calendar and time intelligence functions etc.);
– web data embedding (still in the inception phase, mostly on websites);
– user-enabled time intelligence classifications and formula writing;
– free best practices (community based) libraries;
– graphical visualization of data with ever-growing visual libraries (more recently, all BI’s have evolved towards multi-app architectures);
– ever increasing repositories of best practices (e.g. gamified communities, best solution contests etc.) – allowing users access to fast solutions;
– increased security of data, including any end-to-end Cloud integrations;
– automatic backup in hybrid or purely online data clouds;
– automatic data refreshments…
… and many others.
Please note that the “Simplicient Controller” focused here only on the critical / most important business intelligence platforms’ characteristics. We also tried to weigh in our extensive business intelligence implementation and operation experience – thus digging beyond the major player’s corporate marketing / PR.
2. What will be possible in the neat future (1-2 years)?
What will the business intelligence solutions be able to further enhance in the next period?
Based on our BI experience and research, the next BI platforms are currently working on the following features:
- Auto detect the data source & propose an optimal connection solution (between the BI and the data source);
- Multiple data sources embedding;
- Auto-detecting relationships between heterogeneous data sources and multiple fields;
- Further development of the web connections sources (including retrograde connections to further upstream data sources);
- Semi automatic data modelling via auto detect formulas…
So most of the “behind the scenes” developments are currently focusing on enhancing the software automation component of the BI. We talk here not only about the key players (Tableau, Power BI, Qlik View etc), but also about the other followers.
3. What will most likely be possible in the longer term (beyond 3 years)?
- Automatic releases of new BI software versions, based on intelligent programming algorithms;
- Machine learning forecasting for full financials (E.g P&L rolling forecast);
- Exponential increases of public & paid data sources (in normalized, BI readily digestible formats);
- Data modelling on demand performed by the major BI suppliers;
- Cloud automatic backup of your key data sources and hierarchies;
- Auto presentation modus from a reasonable amount of data providers (based on selected data and machine learning deducted user needs).
We at the “Simplicient Controller” blog are really optimistic about the future of the business intelligence solutions. Even the smaller players (from Information Builders to Pyramid Analytics to MicroStrategy) are able to deliver today for the average controller more than all the ERP’s did a decade ago.
Our >50 years cumulated expertise in business intelligence and Enterprise-Resource-Planning solutions shows that the BI platforms have evolved substantially in a short period of time. Only in the last 5 years, the average implementation time has been reduced to 50% (keeping the same customer requirements in mind). Therefore, the “Simplicient Controller” team remains highly optimistic – and looks forward to delivering even more value for our ever-demanding corporate stakeholders.
Disclosure: the author of the article is a certified Microsoft Power BI (Radu Haraga) plaftorm implementor and corporate analytics developer. He is also experienced in multiple ERP’s, CRM’s and business intelligence solutions. Definitely, he and the “Simplicient Controller” team have a substantial multi-decades corporate finance and corporate controlling experience – in complex multinational companies, with multi-country and multi-regional finance teams, as well as ever-increasing executive stakeholder demands.