Business Analytics & Digital transformation of Enterprise & Society– A long view

As I write my first blog here, I take a long view of BI & Analytics Industry esp. in view of Big Data and Digital driven transformation.

One of my first assertions is that ‘Recent Growth of BI & Analytics including Big Data is part of the same S curve of technology evolution and adoption with performance and functionalities triggered by overcoming technology limitations, primarily from Big Data and Digitalisation related  complimentary innovations in cloud, social and mobile’. 

 A corollary to that is ‘Existing BI eco system is not ‘Legacy’, nor we should try to make it.

I make this fundamental assertion as I believe that strategies for value creation will crucially depend on understanding technology evolution and eco-system in the first place. 

BI Architecture, Systems, processes and service models in the last 2 decades have been mainly focused around structured data. At the same time, semi structured and unstructured data always existed in most industries where it was well understood that if there is a way of integration, analysis and visualization of all types of data, both core technical/operational and corporate decision support would be greatly enhanced. So, the biggest technical issue has not been  collecting this data, index and store, but integration of this data, analysis and visualisation for a specific business decision or possible innovation . To give an example from my personal experience, 15 years ago I was part of a team in a Global Oil & Gas company  where we were working on an Enterprise program to consolidate Hydrocarbon Exploration and Production data to facilitate Geo Scientists take better decisions about where oil or gas could be found, and having found it , how best to exploit the hydrocarbon reserve. In a highly capital and technology   intensive Industry like this,  improving probability of finding oil, better exploitation of reserves by  leveraging E&P data, Safety and Predictive  maintenance  means billions of dollars annually for each company.  In Commercial Industries as well  – Banks, Telco’s, Retail and  Utility companies,  now there is a great focus on utilising BI ,Analytics, Big Data  for Sales and Marketing  and customer value management. Again, for long, importance of widespread customer data and footprint in unstructured format has been well known and several attempts have been made to get these insights thru other methods to limited scale and benefits.

Overcoming these technology obstacles is helping fuel performance and adoption taking it to rapid growth phase, which is what we are seeing now. In this case it has also been fuelled by growth of Digitization, Sensor Data, Social, Mobile and Cloud – essentially the complimentary innovations that mutually reinforce.

This also gives us an understanding about the ‘information divide’ that exists between early adopters of BI & Analytics and a large section of ‘Information Have not’s in business, Government and Third Sector’ because of technology and adoption challenges, waiting for core and complementary technologies to evolve in performance, cost, usability.

So, the dominant design of BI product offerings, service delivery and consumption was never mature; it has been waiting to cross technology hurdles and evolution of complementary technologies. Product Design, Solutions, architectural approaches, service delivery & governance models will continue to evolve until  this dominant design is reached. 

 We are seeing several initiatives and trends from several directions – from product vendors, BI SMEs of Cloud and Hybrid varieties, Large System Integrators, BPO and KPO companies, pure play data companies, and so on. Evolution of Digital enterprise, initiatives of Smart Cities, Open Data and Digital Healthcare on the other hand is leading to several new models of consumption and value delivery from data and information.

In essence, we have just started seeing a rapid adoption & growth phase in the S curve of BI & Analytics technology after about more than 20 years of growing but relatively slower and limited uptake. Looking at System building and adoption initiatives by Governments, Enterprise and Social Sector alike, we should see rapid growth and evolution for at least another 10 years.