The perception of legacy enterprise business intelligence (BI) platforms comes with some legitimate stigma and baggage. It’s technology first, not business-led; the graphical user interface (GUI)-based user experience (UX) doesn’t address ease of use for all business decision-makers; there are too many underutilized reports and dashboards floating around in the enterprise; and signals produced by BI applications aren’t actionable, resulting in a disconnect between BI and tangible business outcomes. So, is enterprise BI dead? Is the end near?
No. If I got $1,000 every time I heard the phrase “BI is dead” over my 30-plus-year career, I’d be a very rich man. I recall claims that advanced data visualization and interactive data querying will replace static reports and dashboards. They didn’t. Rather, all enterprise BI platforms built up that capability. I also vividly remember that these trends started as long as 10-plus years ago and still persist: Multiple vendors’ claims that analytics based on machine learning (ML) will push BI platforms formerly limited to descriptive and diagnostic analytics to the edge of extinction. “Should we replace our BI with AI?” was, and sometimes still is, a typical “BI is dead”-type client inquiry. That didn’t happen either. All leading BI vendors built or acquired augmented (infused with ML for predictive analytics and with conversational UI) BI functionality.
Today, Forrester uses the terms augmented BI and analytics interchangeably, and we’re researching the intersection between augmented BI and automated machine learning (AutoML). When we introduced the systems of insight (SOI) concept back in 2018, we concluded that BI is still a key component of SOI, which supports overall insights-driven business (IDB) capabilities alongside data management and data governance.
So, enterprise BI is not dead. It’s alive and thriving — even more so now that the workforce relies on more digital data for decisions. But there are changes ahead. What’s in store for a post-dashboard world of BI? We believe five trends will shape the post-dashboard future. BI will become more:
We’ll be researching this post-dashboard future of BI and the current and emerging technologies that will turn these five trends into reality.
The original article by Boris Evelson, vice president and principal analyst at Forrester, is here.
The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of CDOTrends. Image credit: iStockphoto/AnkiHoglund