The Future of Business Intelligence is in Education
By Mark Dexter
18th June 2011

How BI Is Used in the Organisation

Herschel writes that the BI is used in decision support at all levels of the organisation with product, market and trend analysis as the leading uses in the strategic arena. In tactical uses, we’re seeing a wide range of performance management, marketing, forecasting, and planning alongside profitability measurements. To round out the operational uses, it’s widespread in financials and sales analytics.

As far as dominant applications go, the survey showed dashboards, decision support and data mining were leading responses.

Achieving BI Success Dependent on Talent

The always-important human element was identified as a major success factor in BI efforts. Essentials include the “decision-makers’ exposure to and understanding of BI and the involvement of business managers review of business and data models.”

According to the survey, more than three-quarters of respondents said business analytics and technical skills are critical to BI teams. Additionally, the number of needed talent is increasing. Fifty-seven percent of respondents expect to recruit new BI talent in the next year.

Focus on Education & Training in BI Services

Due to the growth in BI usage, 66 percent of respondents think users need additional training. And, the majority expects the role of BI services to grow over the next year; with majority of it happening from inside the company.

Respondents say that multiple drivers are behind the demand for BI services. Leading the charge are mobile BI applications, advanced data visualizations and social BI. The need for education in these areas points to the increasingly attractive real-time access to data analytics and the newness of the technology and industry.

Education Service Takeaways

BI is a growing tool for users across the organisation.

For instance, the survey said 33 percent of companies have business users utilizing BI tools outside the BI team. In order to be more effective across the organization, BI education offerings need to extend beyond the IT and analytics teams.

41 percent of those surveyed have less than five years BI experience.

Herschel writes that this is “problematic because the BI field is relatively new and most students entering universities or pursuing graduate degrees are not even aware of BI as a potential field of employment.” For now, it looks like industry and on-the-job training will have to be implemented to meet the demand for talent

Only a few universities offer BI or business analytics degree programs.

With only a few schools offering mostly graduate level programs, is the more urgent need to create academic programs? Or, is it wiser to address the talent issue from within and partner with vendors to train more users? Herschel calls for development of a professional association “to educate the general workforce and students about what the BI field is and the professional opportunities it affords.”

We think it’s a combination of all three – companies, vendors and academia that will help address talent shortages and put BI applications in more hands across the company.

Source: TIBCO Spotfire's Business Intelligence Blog

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