Top BI and Performance Management Trends for 2015

This article will discuss what to expect, what is up and coming, and what will rule in the business world, with a specific focus on the Business Intelligence processes our finance and executive teams will continue to be charged with improving in 2015.

I don’t know if you feel like this, but the new year came and went so quickly, and here we are in the second half of January.  We’re not only back in the swing of things, but business is racing as usual.  Sometimes, it seems as if we can get lost in the hustle of catching up from the holidays, preparing for the next big event, and/or traveling to visit a customer or partner.  But improving processes and staying competitive and connected to the industry, including trends and trajectories for the business world, is still on your to-do list.  This article will zoom in on the top trends for business and specifically performance management, so your company can be in front of developments and evolutions for financial reporting, budgeting, data visualizing, and data warehousing processes.

First of all, Gartner recently released the results of a study, where they interviewed nearly 3,000 CIOs about their priorities for the new year.  Holding the number one spot from 2014, BI/Analytics is the top priority for CIOs for 2015.  Rounding out the top 5 are Infrastructure and Data Center, Cloud, ERP, and Mobile technologies.  All of these results point out the obvious: Business Intelligence (BI) is still king in the business world, from IT to accounting and finance.  This continued BI groundswell means that companies should stay informed about your best options for solutions for data management and analysis processes, so you’re making the right moves and investments to remain stable and competitive in the marketplace.  Let’s discuss the main developments that will influence the BI software realm in 2015.

It’s not like it should be rocket data science.  Traditionally, analytics had to get through the bureaucracy of specialists, usually requiring a data analyst to make sense of company data for general understanding.  Today, the user experience allows for and invites business end users to not only participate, but manage and analyze transactional and operational information on their own.  With data analysis processes overlapping and informing each other, you’ll see amalgamations of reporting, budgeting, dashboards, and data warehousing in the form of user friendly consolidations with multiple types of information, data discovery, and predictive analytics.

Business Users Become the Influential Consumer, Not IT.  Relatedly, instead of Independent Software Vendors (ISVs) looking to IT professionals in the development process, finance professionals all the way up to CFOs will be shaping the next generation of reporting, budgeting, data visualization, and BI data store solutions.  This trend is already in full effect, as the IT department is cut out for a streamlined process and easier-to-use tools.  No need for specialist skill sets like coding or SQL because BI tools are smarter and simpler for the end user than ever before.  Related to this development, the final analysis product will move toward a more digestible format, with a focus on visualization and storytelling.  Show and tell for professionals?

BI On the Road. With the globalization of business in the past couple decades, plenty of professionals are on the move.  More specifically, there’s a rise in corporate structures that include remote employees and road warriors, but the deadlines, meetings, decision-making, and collaborations do not wait for business trips to conclude or trips to the corporate headquarters to occur.  Mobile access as a flexibility in today’s software is basically a requisite for today’s corporations as we collaborate across time zones, from modern formations of cubicles and offices.  Mobile BI solutions will continue to gain in popularity because of their flexibility, empowering professionals to access, manage, and analyze company data from anywhere they carry their mobile devices – which is everywhere now, right?  Current mobile data analysis apps are just scratching the surface, so expect to see continued expansion of functionality as our devices become the leading access point for on-the-go professionals.

In This Case, It’s Normal to Have Your Head in the Cloud. The Cloud is still the buzziest of buzz words in the world of technology, specifically for the business realm.  When it comes to BI analytics, you can expect to see this technology explode, mainly because we’re at the beginning stages for data management and analysis in the Cloud.  There are some pure Cloud ISV solutions for BI processes, and there are some web-based hybrid third party tools, but secure, hosted solutions in the Cloud will solidify their role as the cool kids in the school of analytics, mainly due to the hassle-free nature of modern BI technology without purchasing, owning, or maintaining the hardware.

Teamwork Looks Easy in 2015. Runner-up for buzz words in the world of BI technology?  Collaboration.  ISVs have noted consumer demands and cultural shifts in and outside of the workplace, with social networks (believe it or not) providing models for productivity in our online, on-the-go world – and they have stitched collaboration into the DNA of BI software.  Social functionality will likely move discussions, polls, and conversations about data analysis, business decision-making, and project teamwork from lengthy e-mail threads to permanent breadcrumb trails within your BI tool.  About time, right?  Collaboration and teamwork has been a big part of the business world forever, so it makes sense that our technology reflect that.

It probably comes as no surprise to you that BI Analytics is still king for executives, like the 3,000 CIOs Gartner interviewed, regarding their top priorities for technology in 2015.  And it is important that, in the hustle and bustle of the beginning of the year, you don’t lose sight of your own technology priorities, so that your organization doesn’t fall behind in data management and analysis.  Luckily for you, the software is becoming more and more user friendly.  That doesn’t mean you won’t have questions about the right fit for your company.  Solver, Inc. is happy to answer questions and generally review BI360’s web-powered, easy-to-use Excel and mobile BI tools with both real-time or data warehouse integrated analysis, budgeting and collaboration as a way to accelerate company performance management.

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