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Where BI Is Headed and How The $16.9 Billion Industry Is Primed for A Complete Overhaul

david-draiIn this special guest feature, David Drai, CEO of Anodot, discusses why he believes that sooner than later companies selling static, ask-and-answer BI models will become Nokia’d; outmoded and replaced by data scientists who build actually intelligent and relevant solutions that the BI market has been missing for years. David Drai is CEO and Co-founder of Anodot, a leading business incident detection and analytics company that specializes in anomaly detection. Prior to founding Anodot, he was the CTO of Gett, a taxi mobile app, where his responsibilities were around scaling the architecture. Priot to that, he co-founded Cotendo, a CDN company, which was acquired by Akamai. Earlier in his career he was R&D Director and Chief Architect at Commtouch Software, a leading cyber security company.

A leading web-based company is built to recommend financial options to their 50 million members by analyzing their individual finances in granular detail. The company invested heavily in their operations and the business works exceptionally well – until it didn’t.  A senior Product Manager was conducting business as usual when he noticed that the revenue for a specific page had decreased by 50%.  It took three days before his team noticed the issue, and even more time after that to determine the root cause of the decrease, since it was buried under data from a system update that had taken place days before the incident.  The event impacted the company’s workflow and ability to interact with customers effectively – a major part of the company’s founding mission.

After the team fully understood what happened they realized they could never let a similar issue occur again.  It was extremely frustrating to be left in the dark without answers and they had suffered losses in potential revenue.  Apart from a developer alerting the analysts to a potential issue caused by a system update, there would have been no way for the problem to be identified or mitigated.  The BI tools that the company had in place missed the most important events by either detecting them days late or not at all. While it’s nice to look at a graph that visualizes what happened (past tense) it is far better to identify issues before they become crises.

In-fighting Doesn’t Create Out-Innovation

When modern Business Intelligence visualization tools were introduced a decade ago, the positive response was for good reason – finally data would be actionable and analysts had the right tools to mine all of their collected information for real answers, not just extrapolations from vague datasets. Yet ever since, analysts have had less and less to be excited about. Innovation in the sector has plateaued with competition taking place over minor updates and new integrations.

Across industries, BI analysts all echo the same refrain: I’m sick and tired of looking at dashboards and comparing tables, of getting endless and ultimately meaningless alerts, and of playing with standard deviation functions to get nothing more than trivial analytics. Why does it matter that I can connect my BI program to Google Analytics if I’m getting nothing more than a nice looking graph? More and more, it seems that the traditional BI companies are competing with each other over meaningless developments. Simply put: this is not the BI that users are looking for anymore.

Evolving to Next Generation BI

Though the BI market is expected to reach $20 billion by 2018, 64% of business decision makers still find it difficult to obtain useful, actionable answers from their BI dashboard.  These two stats don’t jibe, but the upside of this dissonance is that there is room for the entire industry to evolve with better, more user friendly offerings that truly solve problems that CTOs, BI analysts, and others using BI insights face daily.  New ‘hot’ tech is always being developed and applied across industries some of which will certainly have BI applications. It will be the responsibility of the best companies to recognize the vacuum in the market and figure out how best to apply innovative tech to the world of business intelligence.

There is no question that AI will drive the next wave of BI.

Autonomous Cars, Machines, and… BI

The proliferation of machine learning is fundamentally changing the world and redefining the tech landscape.  From self-driving cars to machines that can learn to think on their own, technology is developing at an unprecedented pace and in a way that will change every aspect of the way we live our lives.

While the sexier conversation might be about self-driving cars – they are the epitome of the ‘future’ after all – the impact of AI is going to be about business.  What is novel today will be a necessity tomorrow to conduct meaningful operations.  Advances in AI allow machines to learn from their experiences and become more sophisticated as they process more data. This positive association between data and capability is what will make AI solutions for BI work better and better, finally replacing the static BI from a decade ago. As BI solutions are able to dig deeper, they will empower businesses to uncover unforeseen opportunities, creating new means of driving revenue and enabling far more insightful decisions.

 

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