As we say bon voyage to 2015, it’s a great opportunity to reflect on the year-that-was and look ahead at the Business Intelligence (BI) trends that we, here at Phocas, expect to continue to grow in 2016.
1. Self-Service Business Intelligence
In a nutshell, self-service BI is when users take existing BI tools to analyze true and live business data and build out all kinds of visual reports without the need of IT or business analysts. Gartner predicts that by 2017, most business users and analysts in organizations will have access to self-service tools to prepare data for analysts. Research vice president at Gartner, Rita Sallam, said “self-service data integration will do for traditional IT-centric data integrations what data discovery platforms have done for traditional IT-centric BI: reduce the significant time and complexity users face in preparing their data for analysis and shift much of the activity from IT to the business user to better support governed data discovery.”
2. Mobile BI
In today’s business environment, users expect access to solutions anywhere and anytime. The mobile economy demands that services be equipped to handle continuous geographic changes among users. Here at Phocas, we took the lead as the first to introduce all analytics in a mobile way. Phocas Global Digital Marketing Lead Paul Robertson reported that according to the Aberdeen Group, companies using Mobile BI are 68% more likely to get business data on time than companies not using it. “The business landscape is arguably more competitive than it ever has been and having quick access to company insight is critical,” he said.
3. Cloud data
Customers want access to data in a simple but adaptable format. As a result, there is a growing proportion of people happy to use the cloud, including IT. Why?
Cloud BI offers several advantages including:
- Ease of deployment – as an internet-based software, users can quickly install a cloud BI solution without waiting for IT staff.
- Simplicity – quality cloud BI tools are designed with easy-to-use dashboards and intuitive design so users get in and get started without muddling through a complicated set of instructions.
- Mobile-friendly – employees are no longer tied to their desktops in order to access information. Cloud I solutions are accessible from mobile phones and tablets - anytime, anywhere.
- Scalability – as companies increase headcount or expand geographically, adding new users to an existing cloud BI solution is simple and quick.
- Reduced overheads – cloud solutions minimize the number of on-site servers and staff needed to manage day-to-day operations. Expenses that once fell to IT can be reapplied to other functions within the company.
- Increased competition – in recent years, only large organisations could afford to implement software that provided BI insights. With cloud expansion and its economic benefits, small and medium sized businesses can also gain access to valuable intelligence. Companies of all sizes within an industry vertical can leverage cloud BI tools, which creates a more level playing field.
4. Visual analytics
Visual analytics brings analytics to non-analytical people. It lets you immediately gain valuable insights by seeing your data visually represented in graphs and tables that highlight important figures. A good visual analytics feature (otherwise known as a dashboard) will, even if you are not a “data-person”, prompt you to look deeper and provide answers to any questions that may arise along the way. With a good dashboard all your sales metrics and scorecards can be managed so that they display the right dashboard for the right user.
Dashboards should also offer you the ability to drill down on any feature of the data you see and then manipulate it as you like. The ability to customise should also help you sort by products, customers or any other desirable feature for your business. This allows you to quickly reveal sales opportunities or even threats to the business which were otherwise unnoticed. Essentially, it allows you to concentrate on what is important, dismiss what is not whilst still allowing you to dive into the nitty gritty.
5. Advance analytics not just for analysts
The simplification of BI has enabled advanced analytics and data discovery to be placed in the hands of everyday business people. Before this feature became accessible, we needed to think of the criteria of the insight we were looking for, translate that to someone who writes the report, and then nine times out of 10 we don’t receive the answer we were after. With the introduction of advanced analytics, you don’t need to know how to write complex queries, you just need to know how to ask the question to drill down into the data.
The Phocas difference
Phocas is the global leader in providing self-service cloud BI to mid-market businesses in manufacturing, distribution and retail. At Phocas, our simple but powerful analytical capabilities help turn data into insights and visuals including charts, graphs, and maps. In just seconds, users can access data on sales, forecasting, inventory, pricing changes, shifts in profit margins and budgets. Phocas provides a comprehensive BI solution that helps its growing client base stay ahead of the competition.
To learn more about the self-service BI capabilities of Phocas, watch our demo video below.