InetSoft Webinar: What Are Some of the Problems with Traditional Business Intelligence?

Below is the transcript of a Webinar hosted by InetSoft on the topic of Traditional BI vs Agile BI. The presenter is Mark Flaherty, CMO at InetSoft.

Mark Flaherty (MF): What are some of the problems with traditional BI solutions? Everyone knows the rewards from good business intelligence is that the quicker you are able to find problems or opportunities by analyzing your data, then the more chances you have to stand out and outmaneuver your competition?

Since time is a factor, then the agility of your BI application comes into play. In other words, how do you use the time to find the insight as a competitive advantage, and how do you enable your business users to act faster? Traditional BI solutions have been inflexible to changing data needs and changing user requirements.

Another area is self-service. If we look at traditional BI applications, they still haven’t delivered on the promise of BI for the masses. According to analyst research reports, the number of people that are using BI in their organization on average is around 3% to 8%. So analytics is still the domain of analysts and not business users. Business users have found those traditional BI tools too complicated to use.

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Simpler Agile Analytic Tools

Business users require simpler agile analytic tools to find insight and interact with the data. When the business user needs a report, for example, a sales manager wants to look at his top 10 performing products, he has to go to IT or an analyst. As a result, IT is swamped with requests to change reports, and business users, those sales managers, are frustrated because they have to wait for days to get their insights and make informed decisions. They wish they had the tools to easily find those insights by themselves, so they can avoid this crucial delay and act faster.

Another key challenge with traditional BI solutions is collaboration inside the organization. When it comes to discussing the data, reports, or key insights, the most common way to collaborate today is through email or the phone or an instant message. In some applications, you can collaborate on the documents, but there is no social interaction within the application, and no true social knowledge sharing. Companies are still struggling to take advantage of the thoughts floating around in their employees’ heads. They want to put them into one place where they can be searched and analyzed in the future.

All of these shortcomings have contributed to why traditional BI systems have not been able to break the glass ceiling and reach their potential with business users.

Let's talk more about agile BI.

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What is Agile BI?

Agile BI is a very interesting topic which we will cover in depth today. You probably know that the concept of agile BI is one of the most talked about concepts in the world of information management these days. And of course that begs a question, why, why is everybody talking about agile BI? Well, first of all, the reason is I think is fairly intuitive is that typically the old world of business intelligence has not been tremendously agile. In other words, historically it has taken a fair amount of time to build a business intelligence solution, to build a BI application.

Certainly it takes a long time to build a data warehouse. But even today, some analysts are questioning the need for an enterprise data warehouse to do business intelligence, which just a couple of years would have been sacrilege. But things are changing. Things are changing very, very quickly. And I would see InetSoft is a leader in terms of carving out what Agile BI means. Having said that, there are more companies than I can even count using that term these days, and let's just say there are some very creative uses of the term “Agile BI”. But I think what you will get today is something that will be mostly along the lines to be relatively pure description of what that all means.