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IT-Centric Business Intelligence Models Outdated Says Forrester Research

July 5, 2012 No Comments

SOURCE: Midsize Insider

The world of business intelligence (BI) is moving away from the IT-centric models of the past, according to new report from Forrester Research. The report states that enterprise BI models that rely heavily on IT for reporting are “unsustainable,” as the needs of BI are moving away from retroactive models into proactive models that anticipate, rather than react to, changing customer demands and business environments.

The Forrester report cited the need for a move toward self-service BI methodologies and tools that put the information into the hands of business decision makers in real time, or close to real time. IT-centric models tend toward the slower process of business decision makers coming to IT for a BI report, which IT generates and then hands back, meaning information can take days or weeks to become actionable. As the decision-making window becomes smaller, business decision makers need information within hours, or in real time, to remain competitive.

According to an InfoWorld article, the Forrester report highlights two main areas that were making IT-centric BI systems unsustainable. First, BI needs and requirements are changing rapidly, faster than IT is able to keep up with. Unlike enterprise CRM and ERP applications, BI applications tend to become outdated very quickly, and their short lifespan is a hindrance in the IT-centric models. Second, the report notes that software development methodologies are not suited to the changing needs of BI. So-called waterfall methodologies are no longer relevant to modern BI needs; rather, a self-service application is more appropriate. Forrester researcher Boris Evelson says that this means that “in an ideal BI environment, 80 percent of all BI requirements should be carried out by the business users themselves.”

Good News for Midsize IT

The push away from IT-centric business intelligence models is actually good news for IT, particularly at the midsize level. IT is not cut out of the equation altogether, as IT professionals are still essential for setting up the infrastructure and developing policies and tools, but the majority of end users will be business users. This frees up IT resources and time, always in short supply for IT managers at midsize firms.

Computerworld reports that the move toward predictive analytics in BI will enable enterprises to increase their ability to respond to changing business needs efficiently, effectively, and in shorter periods of time. Real-time, flexible BI tools that are in the hands of business decision-makers will help midsize firms remain competitive, retain customers, and understand preemptively customer decision making, enabling smarter decisions that will be more effective.

IT managers at midsize firms should seek out BI software that has auto-modeling, collaboration support, data virtualization, and a search-based user interface that will allow business decision makers, tech savvy or not, to self-serve their BI needs as the situation warrants. IT will be essential in the background, but the process will be more efficient and functional, improving both the efficacy of BI and the unnecessary load on IT.

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