Written by Roman Stanek |
For a long time, I have not been happy with the current status quo in business intelligence. Analytics may be consistently a top Gartner, HBR, and Forrester priority, and business intelligence will continue to enjoy a growth rate unmatched by many industries. But BI has failed to deliver on its key promise—the return on investment.
As cloud BI vendors, too long have we focused on the “I” part of this equation, investing in cloud plumbing and charging our users for bits and bytes. Now it is time for the “return” to come to the fore. We need to prove the value of the investment in data and analytics, as we would with any other business investment. Organizations will always collect and store data, but the bigger question that affects business outcomes has become, “How do we extract value from data?” Unless we focus on the value end-users can gain from our platforms, rather than these platforms’ capacity to amass large quantities of data, analytics providers will continue to see more than 80% of BI projects fail.
The ROI Situation: Two Root Causes
To solve this problem, we need to discuss where it originated. Business intelligence has long touted “organizational efficiency” as its primary source of value. The discussion, even five years ago, centered on using analytics to cut costs and making better decisions which, in theory, are both valuable propositions for any organization.
This efficiency proposition sounded promising, but traditional BI rarely delivered results. Dashboards and implementations were expensive and difficult to scale, sometimes only allowing the C-suite, enabled by “business analysts,” to make the data-driven decisions the BI solution had promised more widely across the organization. For this reason, data became an ever-increasing source of power, put in the hands of a very select group of people.
This is why, for the last five years, the analytics space has been discussing self-service functionality and the democratization of data. Decisions with real, make-or-break business impact happen at the edges of the organization as well as the center, and I am glad the discussion of BI’s impact has shifted to one of distributed decision-making. But we need to go further.
Big Data’s Fourth V
By now, most business people have heard of the three V’s of big data: Volume, Variety, and Velocity. We have seen that many players in the analytics space can handle these three attributes wonderfully, allowing any organization to amass data in a lake, stream, cloud, fog, or other geographic metaphor for an enormous amount of information.
And yet, 60% of organizations say they have more data right now than they can use efficiently. This contradiction between the scale of data collected, and its ability to be used means that business intelligence has failed to deliver on its efficiency promise. Add in the fact that more and more end users in an organization need to make data-driven decisions, and successfully analyzing data can sound daunting.
This is why it’s imperative to add a fourth V to the concept of big data: Value. Every decision maker connected to the business deserves access to analytics that work to provide them with valuable business outcomes. This doesn’t mean everyone in the organization needs to be a data scientist, though. Instead, analytics should be intuitive enough that even those who have little experience with data or analytics can unlock its value for the business outcomes they care about.
A New Age of Data Value
In order to provide this value to every end user, GoodData is now focusing on BI for data monetization. We believe that the conditions in the BI market and the needs of our customers have necessitated a shift in how we think about analytics as a whole. Now, we will focus not only on truly scaling data-driven insight within an organization, but outside its walls. This means that any organization can provide dashboards, ad hoc reporting, and data mashup capabilities not only to every employee, but also to partners, suppliers, subsidiaries, and, ultimately, customers.
The data monetization market is a vast and growing opportunity; not just for us, but for everyone we help to gain value from their data. By providing scalable, secure, automated insights through our analytics distribution platform, we help our customers to “monetize” their data via real business outcomes such as increased customer retention, competitive differentiation, partner effectiveness, and additional sources of revenue. But unlike traditional BI, we don’t hand our customers the keys to the castle without a tour. We partner with each enterprise, organization, or provider to ensure our go-to-market expertise with data-based solutions assists them in achieving their business goals.
And we’re not stopping there. Through events and market research, we will be sharing this opportunity with the world. The time has come to deliver value for every company, every partner, and every user. No longer is data just an amorphous mass to be wrangled; it’s an asset with real, predictable returns that beg to be unlocked. That is why I’m excited to define the data monetization space, by finally moving beyond the age-old BI promise of efficiency—with real dollars and cents.
Written by Roman Stanek |