BI Trends

The Future of Your Business is Analytics [Guest Post]

By Donald Farmer
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This is a guest post by Donald Farmer, Principal, TreeHive Strategy.

Do you remember word-processing? It’s not a term we use much anymore, but not so long ago word-processing made for a full-time job. A typical office had book-keepers, sales clerks and someone who did the word-processing. Today, except in specialist fields, we write our own emails and edit our own documents, while our most familiar software – our email clients – enable formatting, editing and embedding: features which at one time counted as quite advanced word-processing functions.

What has happened? Yes, word-processing software has become easy to use. It has grown so natural to us that we don’t even realise we’re doing when we write an email, or share a document draft. But most importantly, word-processing has become part of our daily workflow. We write, copy, paste, spell-check, search and replace and we don’t feel we’re doing anything special.

Taking data analysis beyond the data analyst

Data analysis could follow a similar path. To date, vendors designed analytic software for specialists who spend much of their time exploring data and creating insights for others. As a result, even basic data analysis rarely served more than 25-30% of people in an organization.

Yet analytics gives modern businesses essential advantages; informing better, more confident decisions, leading to greater agility and innovation. Indeed, new, nimble business models need everyone to play their role as an active, informed decision maker. So we must get analytics into the hands of as many users as we can, without requiring them to become data specialists. How can we do that?

As we have seen from the history of word-processing, simplicity and familiar user experiences are important. Beyond that, the most effective approach will embed analytics in the workflow of our daily tasks. Finance, budgeting and planning are natural places to start. But before long, operational reporting also benefits from analytics. And then, in the office, in the call centre, on the shop floor, in the delivery van, embedded analytics can bring straightforward, but important insights to every employee who can use them. One day, not too far away, we could be talking about insights to inform almost every employee.

Consolidating insights

This is why it makes sense to bring the embedded business intelligence of Logi Analytics into the world of insightsoftware. The key integrations between data analysis, financial management, budgeting and ERP will form a compelling product ecosystem. That consolidation saves customers time, expense and risk when developing analytics capabilities.

Integration alone would be a compelling move, but the acquisition becomes even more interesting when we see the core analytics portfolio expanding to include AI and machine learning capabilities from Izenda.

insightsoftware customers are on a compelling journey. They already have effective enterprise solutions for managing their complex businesses. Many will have a few specialists using modern business intelligence from a portfolio of vendors. (Some will still have word-processing specialists.) But now every business can see the benefits of analytics ripple through each layer of the business process, from daily operational tasks to executive strategy.

Such gradual familiarisation is not flashy or headline-grabbing. But this is how lasting, meaningful transformation happens.

Originally published April 30, 2021; updated on August 12th, 2021

About the Author

Donald Farmer is the principal of TreeHive Strategy, advising software vendors, enterprises and investors on data and advanced analytics strategy. Farmer has worked on some of the leading data technologies in the market and in award-winning startups. He previously led design and innovation teams at Microsoft and Qlik. Farmer has written several books and a popular blog. He lives with his wife, Alison, an artist, in an experimental woodland home near Seattle