Have business intelligence and analytics “jumped the shark” with CIOs?
Gartner analyst Andrew White thinks so. In a recent post, White said he thinks the popularity of BI and analytics is “about to play out its course.”
It’s a bold statement, but perhaps not as daring as it may at first seem. White points out that BI/analytics has been a top priority for CIOs for several years. This year, however, it ranked fourth when Gartner asked top leaders to name the “most important technology-enabled capability investment over the next five years.”
Fourth. That’s quite a fall from grace when it comes to technology priorities.
Oddly enough, the first priority was digital marketing. I’m not 100 percent sure I know what that means, but I suspect it will at least involve some sort of analytics. So maybe it’s not as bad as it seems for all forms of analytics. Still, that doesn’t change the fact that organizations may be seeing the limitations of BI, which White calls “incomplete.”
“For too long IT money has ‘gone toward the data warehouse’ and not enough money is left to focus on how the action is specifically taken, and how the outcome assured,” he states. “As I used to say, if you are on a railroad track and your analytic tells you that the train is early, no amount of data warehousing will save your life. You have to take action and get out the way.”
BI can tell you the train is coming, but it doesn’t help with that critical next step: Action. That’s the domain of business applications, he adds, which brings us to his other major point: We could be on the verge of a business process management (BPM) revival.
Adding BPM tools would allow companies to automate some of the decisions supported by the data. It’s hard to imagine why this would be such a big deal if your focus is data. White is Gartner’s MDM analyst, but he’s also an expert in B2B functions such as supply chain management and logistics, where BPM is often used to automate split-second decisions about restocking, reordering or re-routing supplies.
As one reader points out, it may not be so much about BI/analytics being played out as it is about adding BPM to these existing tools.
“Bottom line: It’s not either/or,” comments reader Shash Hegde, who writes the Data Czar blog. “It’s the combination.”