Computing, a major UK IT magazine, surveyed approximately 100 decision makers representing businesses ranging in size from fewer than 250 employees to those with many thousands, and from multiple industry sectors, in order to establish how BI is helping – or hindering – UK businesses in making the switch from being data-driven to insight-driven.
The survey found that 95 per cent of UK businesses deploy some sort of Business Intelligence tool but that only 52 per cent believed that these tools were “mostly” delivering clear benefits in line with expectations.
When asked: “In your opinion, what is the biggest shortfall when considering the performance of your BI/Analytics platform?”, by far the biggest proportion of respondents (40 per cent) answered “the time it takes to get further insight (from my data team or further digging).” For 16 per cent, a lack of context around data points to help uncover why the data changed is also a frustrating factor. Without context, we can see only that an event has occurred – not why it occurred.
A deeper examination of the survey uncovered that the biggest areas of contention focused around dashboards where a huge 71 per cent of those surveyed stated that only a few people in their organisations use dashboards. The report’s author stated, “These findings alone paint a pretty dismal picture of the extent to which BI dashboards are enabling the insight-driven model that businesses need and are typically not viewed as an area worthy of significant investment. Very few people are using dashboards, and the ones who are, are mainly using them to simply identify events that have occurred.”
Commenting on the survey, Glen Rabie, CEO of Yellowfin, said, “It might seem odd that an innovator in the BI space would want to highlight the shortcoming of areas like dashboards that this survey has uncovered but there is no point trying to bury the fact that the current dashboard-centric view of BI is imperfect - organisations need to gain more value from BI and analytics in this increasingly data driven business world.”
“To be clear, dashboards are an exceptional solution for a few selected use cases,” says Rabie. “If you’re focused on monitoring a known set of metrics over time, there’s no question that a dashboard is the best solution. But more and more business users want to use their business intelligence to discover new insights and metrics, rather than monitor existing ones.”
However, the survey does shed light on where UK enterprises are gaining real benefit. 52 per cent of those surveyed had made modest investments in BI in the last 5 years. For those who had invested, the most frequently reported benefit, by 28 per cent of respondents, was that “time to insight improved”. Closely following were “time to deliver report packs has decreased” (22 per cent) and “users can confidently use data for decision-making,” reported by 21 per cent.
Looking forward, when asked: “To what extent do you use AI-driven analytics or automation within your data analytics platform?”, 29 per cent of respondents were either already using AI-driven analytics or evaluating such a platform.
“The survey recognises the flaws of the dashboard and, over the next few years, we will see a variety of new solutions coming to market - like our recently launched Yellowfin Signals product - that will automate the discovery of data insights,” says Rabie. “Dashboards will still play an important role in monitoring and understanding whether a business is on track, but businesses will rely more and more on automated analytics to really understand, in real-time, what’s happening underneath.”