Changing demands, enhancing technology
The traditional BI-function has changed; in a short amount of time business intelligence and analytical needs among users have improved significantly, information gained from data mining is being applied in an ever increasing scope, and BI-tools are also expected to meet these changing needs.
These were the main points of our inquiry, as well as the present and future of BI when we asked Attila Merényi, Managing Director of AXIS Rendszerház Ltd., an IT firm delivering platform independent solutions and providing other services.
Computerworld: AXIS Rendszerház Ltd. has been dealing with the implementation of BI-systems for 15 years. What kind of demands and requests do you face as part of your daily business activities?
Attila Merényi: The rapid change in the market – that is the ongoing changes of financial systems as well as the economic environment – forces businesses to respond quickly, which in turn creates new situations for company directors, who have to make decisions they hadn’t expected. In order to make sound decisions, they need a system which utilizes the available data and supports decision making by pointing out where companies can and must introduce changes in their business practices. The technology currently available offers great help not only in forecasting, but also in terms of its ability to provide measurable feedback, which can be analyzed in retrospect and determine whether or not the changes introduced met the expectations.
CW: How can company directors obtain adequate information for making decisions?
AM: The basis of all BI-measurements is the right set of information, which needs to be organized in integrated structures. Once this is done, the system will be able to perform the analyses which will later show precisely the consequences of a given decision. Being the managing director of a company, I also face difficult situations when I have to make tough decisions with my teeth clenched, but fortunately I can use the appropriate data and the BI-tools, which highlight the relevance of the particular decision in an exact manner.
CW: What kind of new trends can be notices within BI, which can forecast the changing market demands?
AM: The BI-function that is considered traditional has fundamentally changed; companies do not only use it in the financial world since it also offers information for the technical and engineering field which can be utilized to optimize work processes. Predicative analysis has become very popular, where experts particularly analyze the future effects of a specific change. Incredible correlations can also be uncovered using social data. Companies in the servicing industry have started to discover the power hidden in social information, and now they realized that it is worth taking into account such information when performing various analyses.
Trends indicate that centralized analysis, or in other words the use of BI with financial focus, is broadening and now there is an increasing number of fields where people want to analyze data at a certain level. Demand for “self-service BI” has gained an emphasis, which means there is a need for people who can analyze information without having to involve staff members from the IT or the controlling department. This resulted in a need for the “intelligent cloud”, so these reports now have become available not only in the office, but also online and on all kinds of smart device platforms. And this takes us to the concepts of BigData and IoT, which further widen the possibility for analysis and offer a whole new perspective within BI.
CW: Which industries can profit most from the BI-measurements and who are the ones benefiting from the intelligent cloud to the greatest extent?
AM: My personal experience is that each field has its own relevance, but mostly it is the industrial, transportation and financial fields, as well as the servicing and governmental sectors taking advantage of the BI features. However, with the help of the intelligent cloud solutions, the market also opens up to small and mid-size businesses, which were not able to utilize the BI-system in the past.
CW: Aren’t you concerned that the intelligent cloud solution could potentially push out service providers, such as AXIS from the market?
AM: I think intelligent cloud solutions are very useful and important, because nowadays they can be used by those entities that were unable to take advantage of them previously, but I’m also convinced that the kind of expertise we possess in terms of the implementation and daily support of BI-systems cannot be disregarded when a business is seriously considering the launch of a new decision support system. Fortunately, BI-services are not tied to location; therefore, one of our greatest accomplishments is that following our success in Hungary, a multinational soft drink maker ordered the implementation of its BI-system from us in eight other European countries. So, I can honestly say I am not worried, as the intelligent cloud solution allows us to introduce and emphasize the importance of BI-expertise at a much wider scale.