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November 17, 2017

Visualisation has become one of the most important trends in BI

Robert Dagge, Managing Director at Dynistics, looks at the rise in visualisation fuelling the demand for modern BI.

By James Nunns

A recent Economist Intelligence Unit study showed that while 70 percent of senior executives felt analytics would be either “very” or “extremely important” to their business’ competitive advantage, just 2 percent felt their analytics investments had already had a “broad, positive impact”.

The increasing amount of data available, and the speed at which insights need to be discovered and implemented, often means there’s no time to sift through to find trends, or produce reports. Traditional approaches to Business Intelligence (BI) therefore often fail to unlock the power of data because they’re often just too complicated, too rigid, and too slow.

However, at the same time, harnessing data to produce the business intelligence needed for organisations to gain a competitive edge is more important than ever. Enter modern BI.

So how is it different? How have things moved on?

First and foremost, according to the Top Business Intelligence Trends 2017 report, visualisation has become one of the most important trends. This shift to end user preferences in the interpretation of data has seen dashboards become increasingly more popular as they help people to quickly digest the most relevant information. After all, if intelligence results are hard to access and reports are difficult to interpret, users won’t make effective use of the system and its value will be reduced.


10 to 100 times faster at every step

Modern BI tools focus on ease of use, making new-user onboarding both simple and fast. Where traditional systems can take months to implement, the latest approaches can take as little as a few hours. Traditional systems focused on IT-led reporting have given way to easy-to-use, self-service-based platforms accessible to everyone within an organisation, regardless of their role and experience. Modern BI solutions don’t require a specialised team to create reports but enable you to create your own dashboards in minutes, freeing up reporting teams to work on strategic projects.

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Available anytime, anywhere, and on any device

Traditional approaches to business intelligence involved long lead times for user-ready information. But with more and more teams working remotely, there’s an ever-growing need for ad hoc reporting, analysis and flexibility on a real-time basis. Custom BI dashboard software means this information is easily accessible via desktop, laptop, mobile or tablet, enabling you to view your organisation whenever and wherever you choose.

According to research, our brains can process images 60,000 times faster than text; partly because we can process multiple images simultaneously, rather than one word at a time. Dashboard software combines graphs and charts with powerful, intelligent business analytics so you can not only see how your organisation is doing, clearly and in real-time but also take the necessary corrective actions earlier to prevent small issues becoming bigger problems. Custom BI dashboards also enable users to learn more about any element of the dashboard by drilling down to a more detailed view of data, answering questions raised by seeing your information all in one place.


The latest insights in real time

Actionable insights in real-time are the best way to uncover new revenue channels and in today’s fast-paced world, accurate decisions need to be made faster than ever. Digital dashboards can be scheduled to automatically compile reports from all your systems in real time. This not only saves you time and reduces human error, but it allows you to make immediate decisions without having to depend on a report that would previously have taken weeks to compile – and would have been out-of-date by the time it was finished.


No more fragmented data

Modern BI tools provide an organisation with centrally-managed data sources that create a single source of the truth in a universally accessible location. Updated data sources are available immediately, saving time and effort traditionally spent on data updates. By enabling self-service analytics, it becomes simple to combine massive amounts of data from different systems and departments. While dashboards provide you with quick snapshots that can be completely understood at a glance, they also let users choose the level and complexity of the data they want to view, or easily make changes to that information.


Improved security

While data is only useful when it’s accessible, there must be a balance between data access and security. According to an article from the Harvard Business Review, the biggest risks to a business’ data security are in fact its employees; a concern with the shift to self-service. But whereas the traditional approach to BI enforces strict lockdowns on data and reports, resulting in low adoption of analytics and leading to decisions that are rarely data-driven, modern BI leans more to data governance. Creating a safe and trusted environment for self-service analytics, leads to accurate, available, and audited dashboards and reports.

Today’s organisations are embracing a culture of analytics that requires data to empower their every move. Put simply, they expect, and need, more from their BI.

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