Predictions: A Cynic’s Guide to BI in 2017

December 20, 2016
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bi-in-2017-fail

I’ve been working in Business Intelligence and Analytics for over twenty-five years. With some confidence and a lot of cynicism, here are my predictions for 2017:

Business People

bi-in-2017-fail

I’ve been working in Business Intelligence and Analytics for over twenty-five years. With some confidence and a lot of cynicism, here are my predictions for 2017:

Business People

  • Business people will be dissatisfied with their BI systems (this is “Timo’s First Law of BI”)
  • Executives will refuse to learn to use any other data tool than Excel (and not even the newer features of that).
  • No matter how good the BI system, business people will make bad decisions based on gut feel.
  • Executives will be completely unaware of data quality problems. Unless their bonus depends on some value affected by it, at which point they will become experts.
  • Some business people will get fed up with corporate BI, and take it into their own hands. They will build a loosely-connected set of different technologies resulting in huge maintenance costs and low compliance. They will then ask IT to take over the project.

IT

  • IT teams will implement new ERP systems, then be surprised when business people ask for analytics.
  • IT teams will struggle to build business cases for BI. But as soon as the business people have access to new data, processes will change, generating missions of dollars.
  • Data quality, data integration, and metadata will be the primary barriers to BI. But companies will continue to invest less in these areas than in shiny executive dashboards.
  • New data sources will outpace IT’s ability to integrate them into core platforms (no matter what technology is used).
  • BI Competency Centers will over-invest in technical skills and under-invest in communications and community-building.

Analysts

  • Some analysts will say BI and BI competency centers are dead, much to the confusion of the millions of people doing it every day.
  • Analysts will say that there is only 15% penetration of BI. Nobody will understand where this number comes from, and why it hasn’t changed in over twenty years.
  • Analysts will say that data should be treated like an asset. Companies will not treat it like an asset.
  • BI success numbers will be “calculated” using non-scientific samples of self-reported estimates without defining what “success” means.
  • Analysts will say these numbers are too low, and that you need help from analysts to improve them.

The market

  • Everybody will insist their definition of Business Intelligence / Analytics / Big Data etc. is the only “correct” one.
  • New analytics buzzwords will be coined. Thousands of articles will be written saying that the new buzzwords are meaningless and/or wrong.
  • New BI startups will be created. They will claim to bring “BI to the masses” for the first time.
  • Newer vendors will call the older vendors inflexible dinosaurs. Older vendors will call newer vendors immature and unsafe. Some newer vendors will suddenly realize that they are now considered the older vendors.

What predictions would you add?