Business intelligence (BI) is not currently available for the masses—even though the technology and hardware is. However, I see this changing because organizations of all sizes have been accumulating large amounts of data…data that must be analyzed to be fully leveraged.
With that said, the future of business intelligence is the SMB market (small to medium businesses). Business and technology decision makers in the SMB space see Microsoft as driving the BI market and making it an affordable option for them.
What do application vendors need to know about the SMB space to be successful?
AMI-Partners' recent “U.S. SMB Cloud Playbook” study found cloud-based SMB solutions for business intelligence/business analytics will become more available to SMBs—thus driving investments. Specifically, the study estimates SaaS bundled options for business intelligence and analytics will increase by 25% annually through 2015 to reach $500 million.
For SMBs, the cloud takes away some of the management headaches associated with information. I see Microsoft Azure as playing a key role in SMB cloud computing moving ahead—that is why all Syncfusion components and controls currently support Azure or have support for Azure on their short-term road map.
Application vendors in the SMB marketplace need to support as many back ends as possible and be agnostic about what kind of data sources customers have in place. Data today is scattered in multiple containers—databases, Microsoft Excel files, Microsoft Word documents, custom reports and text files to name a few.
At Syncfusion, one of our key focus areas (for the last decade) has been ensuring that data in all commonly used business formats is easily available for further processing. Our work with business intelligence dovetails with work that we have already done on data processing and reporting.
Today’s BI solutions are easier to deploy and deliver quicker results. However, in order to be successful, the most important factor to consider is a company’s business goals. The need to avoid GIGO (garbage in, garbage out) rings especially true in business intelligence.