Business Analytics: Where Do We Go from Here?

Let me take the mystery out of business analytics for you and tell you why it’s so powerful today and so exciting for the future.

Business analytics today

I meet with customers almost every day, and one of the first questions they ask in discussing business analytics is: Where do we start?

For most businesses, the answer is simple: The first thing to start with is enterprise information management (EIM). EIM helps you find your information and clean it up. Most companies’ data is a mess, so the first thing to do is clean it up and make it accurate.

Now keep in mind that I am not saying you always have to start with EIM, many companies start with business intelligence and then clean up data based on feedback from the people using it.  Regardless of whether you start with EIM or BI, we prescribe business intelligence (BI). It will tell you what you are doing in your company that is good and bad.

Then, enterprise performance management (EPM) will help your entire company do more of the good and less of the bad.

And last but not least, we recommend governance, risk and compliance (GRC) to help your company accomplish more of the good, less of the bad in a highly regulated environment.

These four steps are the core of what we have prescribed to customers for the last ten years. Customers have taken to it, appreciated its fluid flow and achieved remarkable results.

Recently, we’ve added two categories. The first are industry-specific analytic apps, which make business analytics more useable out of the box for specific industries and lines of business.

We’ve also added data warehousing, including a variety of solutions from both SAP and our recent acquisition of Sybase.  One of the most compelling is HANA, a real time data warehousing tier for fast, efficient storage and management of your information.

Where do we go from here?

This is an incredibly powerful and proven approach to business analytics. But where do we go from here? What new developments will be exciting and game-changing moving forward?

There are a few answers to this. First is the ability to fix a problem that plagues almost every organization: corporate data should get smarter over time.  But it doesn’t.

Let me tell you what I mean by this. When you run a Google search, you are using a query tool—Google—that sits on top of an enormous database, the Internet. This tool is not only free but fast, and one that produces incredibly relevant search results.

So why isn’t it the same for BI query tools? The answer draws a contrast between Internet data and corporate data. Internet data is constantly evolving and becoming more relevant.  When you use Google and run your query, you may blog about what you find or tweet it out. In other words, you put something back into the database itself to make it more evolved, mature and relevant for the next person that has a query.

If you do the same type of query on corporate data, you might find a good report, but that’s the last you’ll do with it except maybe alert a colleague. That’s as social as the report will get. What we are working on is building a greater collaborative framework into our business analytics portfolio, including social sharing and sentiment, to help corporate information evolve.

We are creating a feedback loop, capturing it and making the data more mature so that when the end user hits it, it’s more relevant to them right out of the gate.

Second, we are integrating our existing business analytics solutions so closely that they occur as a single piece of software or single appliance. Soon you will be able to make a software set-up investment once and then unlock additional tools from the portfolio as you need them.

Finally, we are improving the client so that the end user has a much simpler way to find and consume information.

So when can we get started? If you look at the chess pieces that we have on the board today, SAP has what is needed to make this next shift in business analytics—social software, BI on demand and core business analytic solutions. There is an ongoing evolution to bring them together, which we are already working on now. Work with us, and let us know how you envision business analytics improving the course of your company.