Thursday, December 10, 2015

The Democratization of Business Intelligence

Business intelligence (BI) is associated with methods and tools capable of extracting useful information for business insight and analysis. The methods applied are often complex as the technology needs to process large amounts of heterogeneous and unstructured data, all with optimal goals in common — revealing unexpected opportunities and providing a competitive advantage.

Who Benefits the Most from Business Intelligence? Any business can be the beneficiary of this practice. Business insight exists within all employees in the form of tacit knowledge, yet only a few employees have access to BI tools and methods needed for capitalization. Humans are the best in performing BI, yet the tools and methods are complex for the majority of the work force. This complexity is reaching a tipping point with the awakening of computers being able to perform more Artificial Intelligence (AI) processes that are powered by Big Data and cognitive technology. Alas we can start to put the complexity in the back-end of our systems, and reveal the benefits to more users.

Business people are not waiting for BI tools, in fact it is an intimate part of everyday work. The problem is that it takes time if we have to deliberately think about it. Many will search the Web, collect RSS feeds, probe social media, do or have assistants doing the work of curation, and repeat to be up-to-date. Others will just detect a risk or opportunity as it reaches them serendipitously. That basic set of tasks is exactly what can be automated by the latest technology. The Darwin Awareness Optimizer (DAO) is such a solution.
I believe that revealing and detecting patterns in a comprehensive manner to anyone is the first step in changing the enterprise’s corporate culture into an efficient cognitive business culture. This evolution is also acknowledged by IBM’s Chairman and CEO Ginni Rometty, when she said that “a new technological era is upon us, one that marries digital business with digital intelligence. It's what's known as cognitive business.”

As BI and AI become more integrated into 21st century business methods, today’s businesses can’t allow the chasm between data science and business workers to grow. This why not every BI solution needs to be complex, and limited to a few experts, to keep a business alert and resilient.

To limit this capability of BI to a few experts as is the current model of operation in the business culture, not only puts a huge burden of accountability that slows down insightful BI, but also omits the outliers’ detection and expertise of the workforce in everyday activities. The democratization of business intelligence offers a wider and more comprehensive, and more insightful, awareness at every level of the organization.