IT Services, Clutch Report

2016 Business Intelligence Data Analytics Survey

May 24, 2016

by Sarah Anyan

Product Manager

Clutch surveyed Business Intelligence (BI) analytics users in the U.S. to determine the usefulness of BI data tools in the business market.

The survey also addressed adoption trends, benefits, challenges, and satisfaction ratings.

Key Findings

  • Widespread use of BI data is fairly new. 71% of users began using BI tools after 2012.
  • The importance of BI data is unquestionable, according to 86% of respondents. Improved efficiency, better data management, and more support for strategy development are the primary benefits.
  • BI data users are most concerned about security (35%), administrative delays (24%), and data flaws (22%).
  • There is room for improvement when it comes to data accessibility. 43% say accessing BI data is somewhat simple, while only 24% say very simple.
  • Commercial solutions — Microsoft Power BI, Oracle, IBM Cognos — are most popular in the BI market, despite open source options.

The study consisted of 291 respondents who use BI data analytics tools for their jobs. We eliminated respondents who only use spreadsheets or free web analytics tools.

BI Data Analytics Adoption Timeline

BI data is a relatively new for most businesses.

BI Data Tools Adoption Timeline

What fueled BI data’s popularity over the past three years?

1. Business Expectations Change As BI Data Becomes A Buzzword

“There’s so much chatter about BI Data. There’s a lot of pressure on corporate managers to be involved or to at least have an answer when their senior management asks, ‘Where are we with that?’”
John Keenan, Founder and CEO, Anthem Marketing Solutions

2. People Becoming More Comfortable With BI Data

Accepting and adapting to new technology takes time. In fact, Brian David Johnson, futurist at Intel, describes a four-stage process for adopting new technology.

  1. Fear
  2. Personal struggle to understand the new technology
  3. Denial of its usefulness
  4. Acceptance

The pattern applies not only to BI data but also to the Cloud. The value of BI data becomes clear after you begin using it: understanding the tools, applying the data to your context.

“At first, the main concern with cloud computing was that it was off-premises. Is it going to be secure? As companies became more comfortable using the Cloud, the possibilities became apparent. It was easier to see how to scale the Cloud’s capabilities.”
Dean Abbott, Co-founder and Chief Data Scientist, SmarterHQ

3. More Affordable Solutions Available for Analyzing BI Data

“The market is competitive. With the advent of the Cloud, users can acquire [BI] tools and solutions without large expenditures.”
Carl Paluszkiewicz, Director of Customer Value, Denologix

4. Self-Service Solutions Take Pressure Off IT Team

“As self-service functionality has evolved, the adoption rates for BI tools have been much higher. The reason is that IT has been stretched beyond belief. Demand has gone up for IT services, but budgets have gone down. … There aren’t enough resources.”
Carl Paluszkiewicz, Denologix

Importance of BI Data

Importance of BI Data

Most BI data analytics users, 86 percent, say data is important to their company.

Breaking the results down further shows the following:

  • More than half, 54%, say they strongly believe that BI data plays an important role in their company.
  • 89% of BI data analytics users say that the importance of data in their jobs has increased significantly over the past 12 months.

Change in Importance of BI Data Over 12-months

BI data’s increased importance in the business market is connected to its role in decision-making. It helps business leaders make more informed decisions.

“Leaders have to make a lot of big decisions. They require facts to reassure them that they are making the right decisions. For example, C-level marketing people often know the answer, but they need to prove it. The faster they can prove a new strategy’s effectiveness, the faster they can go to market.”
Carl Paluszkiewicz, Denologix

Using BI Data Effectively Requires A Strategy

To apply BI data effectively, consider the following:

  1. Identify the data that can solve a specific business problem
  2. Convert data into a clear, analytic story
  3. Ensure data remains accurate and consistent

Without a strategy in place to identify, collect, and apply data, BI data tools can be detrimental to a business.

For example, a BI data tool, like Hadoop Cluster, is not the best choice for a small business seeking to manage its data better.

“I got an RFP the other day from a customer doing basic data analysis on their desktop. They thought it would be good to implement a Hadoop Cluster. While they need a better system to manage their data, they don’t need to go from a very basic environment to a Big Data tool. It’s overkill.”
Laura Squier, Director of Advanced Analytics and Business Development, QueBIT

Benefits of Using BI Tools to Analyze Data

Data analytics users say BI data improves business efficiency, helps them manage data better, and supports business strategy development.

Benefits of Using BI Data

The three priority benefits that respondents identified surprised the Big Data thought leaders who were interviewed about the survey findings.

They say BI data’s greatest benefit is its ability to help businesses make more informed decisions.

“Big Data gets us a little bit closer to seeing the full picture of what’s happening.”
Dean Abbott, SmarterHQ

BI data improves efficiency and data management for a similar reason. It puts more information at your fingertips.

“You have all the facts about your business in front of you. … Then, you can communicate more effectively internally and make decisions more quickly.”
Carl Paluszkiewicz, Denologix

For example, collecting data about online behavior shows how customers interact with your brand. Without this information, there are gaps in how you understand your audience.

The value of BI data is far-reaching. In companies that use BI data, multiple departments will benefit.

Importance of BI Data Across Multiple Departments

In fact, when asked to select all the departments that benefit from analyzing BI data, on average, respondents selected at least three departments each.

BI data’s applicability in the sales and marketing departments makes the most sense.

“Sales and marketing are the largest users. Their decisions directly affect multiple categories, such as research and development and customer service.”
Carl Paluszkiewicz, Denologix

BI Data Analysis Challenges

Challenges of Analyzing BI Data

When it comes to security, businesses need a proactive strategy to manage risk.

“Security can mean a lot of things. If you consider security in sharing data, then there are processes you can implement to protect your data. A big part of the challenge is that people circumvent the process part or just build the process as they go. The best strategy deals with the issue beforehand.”
Carl Paluszkiewicz, Denologix

Data Inconsistencies Make Analyzing Data Difficult

Despite the respondents’ emphasis on data security, BI data thought leaders interviewed about the survey findings, say data inconsistencies pose the most daunting challenge.

Data flaws are a result of the following:

1. Data Being Collected Incorrectly

“If we are collecting behavioral data about interactions on a website, but we don’t collect all the interactions, it’s a data flaw. The data collected does not represent fully what the individual does.”
Dean Abbott, SmarterHQ

2. Misunderstanding The Data

“Sometimes we make assumptions about what the data contains. What it means. You have to differentiate between what we think the data means and its full content.”
Dean Abbott, SmarterHQ

BI Data Accessibility

Accessing BI data has become easier, but there is room for improvement.

  • 67% of BI data users say it is simple to access their company’s BI data in a timely manner.
  • But, most of those say it is somewhat simple as opposed to very simple.

Accessibility of BI Data

However, BI data users were divided when it came to the level of dependency they require to access their company’s BI data.

Independent v. Dependent Access to BI Data

Ensuring easy access to BI data is all about setting up a solid infrastructure.

This infrastructure resembles a path for transforming BI data into an actionable asset for businesses.

It should include,

  • A process for transforming data into a useful form.
  • The ability to visualize data in a way that’s interesting.

John Keenan of Anthem Marketing Solutions suggests asking yourself four questions when setting up a data infrastructure:

  1. Why are you implementing this BI tool?
  2. Who do you expect to use the tool?
  3. Who is responsible for making sure that the data you analyze is useful?
  4. What safeguards exist to ensure you interpret the data correctly?

Most Popular BI Solutions For Businesses

BI data analytics users say Microsoft Power BI, Oracle, and IBM Cognos are the most popular BI data analytics solutions.

Most Popular BI Data Tools

The big vendors remain popular in the BI space because of their availability.

However, the commercial vendors’ dominance may recede in the future.

“On the predictive analytics and data science end, open-source tools have been gaining ground. But, it seems like the BI space is still dominated by the big commercial vendors.”
Dean Abbott, SmarterHQ

Customer Satisfaction Ratings

To determine which BI data analytics solutions have the highest customer satisfaction rating, we use the Net Promoter Score (NPS).

NPS calculations take into account responses to the question, “How likely is it that you would recommend this service to a friend or colleague?”

The NPS score shows that respondents are most satisfied with Oracle, IBM Cognos, and Microsoft Power BI. All three BI Data solutions are above the average NPS benchmarks for software services companies.

NPS Scores - BI Data Tools

These BI data analytics solutions offer application integrations. This makes the tools easier to select and adopt. You choose the tool that matches the software and applications your businesses already uses.

“Oracle, Microsoft, and IBM offer embedded applications. They are easy to implement on top of a business’ existing applications.”
Carl Paluszkiewicz, Denologix

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