Sometime back, I wrote my thoughts around Enterprise 2.0 and how it is about leveraging social communities within an extended enterprise. I was asked whether Enterprise 2.0 is just another round of attempt to deliver on the promises of better analytics and knowledge management. I have already covered my thoughts on why Enterprise 2.0 is more than that. Regardless, I believe progress within analytics/business intelligence space is key towards achieving Enterprise 2.0.
Relevant data that provides everyday vital information is key to making decisions. And it is a powerful notion that influences people behavior.
Various opportunity areas where much progress is happening within enterprise industry are (this is not a comprehensive list, feel free to add others that you see missing) :-
1. Delay between generation of data and for the corresponding action to take place – How to quickly get to decisions? New analytical models around SOA/Events based architecture paradigm are emerging here. How this system will scale and perform as the trend continues to evolve from batch to realtime for widely available 24×7 system with more internal/external end users will be the testament and tipping point for possible Internet scale adoption.
2. Disjointed analytics from everyday business process – How analytical information get closer or be embedded within business applications like billing, accounting, other ERP applications, CRM, etc. so that users have their transactional and analytical information available side by side to take action when things happen. Much progress is happening here on daily basis by the application, analytics and integration vendors trying to bring analytics closer to business processes.
3. Automate “most” of the regular tactical decisions – How to overcome or provide additional intelligence needed in the data to be able to identify and isolate bad information generated due to the noise from the actionable good information? Today, much of these interpretation happens manually. I am sure some level of human involvement will be needed but the idea remains how to automate “most” of the regular tactical decisions needed to keep things flowing on everyday basis. SOA/BPEL/Events based architecture has the promise to potentially automate “most” of the tactical decisions. But the challenge will be how to eliminate noise before acting on some information. You don’t want some automatic tactical decision being made due to a noise that result into potentially more bad situations.
4. Meaningful presentation of various analytical knowledge – gleaned from wide variety of information at different level of granularity. Information need to easier for human to read, interpret, drill down and act upon. So much progress has been happening here due to Web 2.0 and touted reverence to the dashboards that demos so well. The need here is also to continue to make it pervasive, available wherever needed, and making it available in wide variety of form factor.
5. Ever increasing size of data – Advent of new technologies like RFID and increasing automation of processes has opened up the flood gate of data (structured/unstructured)that needs to be analyzed and aggregated on daily basis. This is growing data size to manage and analyze by leaps and bounds. Increase bandwidth, much innovation in the storage and other industries for faster access continues to push the limit. One hear terra/peta/exa byte much more often in conversations – something not common just few years back.
6. Quality of data that gets integrated and aggregated from various sources – Maturity of the integration/EAI products, better cleansing and aggregation tools, increase automation, etc. are helping keep data fresh, consistent and actionable.
Analytics future is exciting as the technologies are maturing, business use cases are evolving where market is looking beyond aggregated historical trending information to reflect the current or future needs. Companies are asking for front view (real time, forecast data) beside rear view mirror (historical information) to run business. Continued consolidation of the industry – Reporting, Performance Management, Analytics, Data Warehouse, Knowledge Management, etc…will keep this space exciting and help bring several of these information islands closer.