IT industry veteran Dan Sommer, the senior director: market intelligence lead at Qlik, says that companies need to move beyond traditional BI and embrace the endless possibilities that connecting people with data and ideas will bring.

Sommer was in South Africa to discuss business analytics market trends with particular reference to innovation and industrialisation.

“Market dynamics and the competitive landscape are undergoing tectonic changes now, as tipping points cause a change in centricity around data, analytics, buying and selling. Love it or hate it, we are experiencing a shift from power to empowerment,” he said.

In his view, the emergence of ‘data junkies’ is requiring businesses to embrace a new approach. Sommer likens this to moving from being a gatekeeper to becoming ‘more of a shopkeeper’.

“What used to be the systems era that saw IT pushing out reports is gone. Over the past decade, that has evolved into the personal analytics era. Today, individuals are bringing their own analytical tools to organisations that serve them to become more efficient employees,” he said.

Moreover, many enterprises are moving from on-premise data structures to cloud-based information.

“Half of organisations are accessing external data sources. Increasingly, data is born in the cloud especially for the mid-market and down. With no clear leader emerging yet in the cloud BI segment, we expect data connectivity from both on and off-premise components to become the key to capturing market share. Ecosystems of analytics are starting to emerge around where the data is.”

Importance of Small Data…

This is resulting in companies (and decision-makers) needing to be more agile when combining data sources with one another. Much of this, Sommer said, is not revolving around Big Data but instead with Small Data.

“It is those fleeting business moments that will help define the new era of BI. For example, imagine the possibilities when a company combines the client information it has on its warranties with mapping information. Suddenly, new business models open up to upsell and cross-sell based on where customer premises are – or even what they look like.”

With the cloud-based market still accounting for less than 10 percent of the overall market, the bridging phase will see a significant amount of combination between on-premise and off-premise BI. From the perspective of customers and employees, the ease of use and overall experience of accessing data will remain critical in this migration.

“We are seeing the rise of data-driven analytical centres of excellence inside organisations. The new era of BI is here – and it is one that will have a fundamental impact on how business is conducted…”


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