Blog:

Can Business Intelligence be delivered as a service?

At DNASTREAM we work every day with companies to support them as they implement new technology. A theme that is starting to emerge more and more across many companies and technologies is the evolving requirement for Business Intelligence (BI). To find out more  contact Andy Milner, or call 07816 508951.

Business Intelligence – do business users and IT teams want the same thing?

Increasingly the expectations of the business user are high and the standard solutions they are offered at work tend to be lacking. This can become a major source of friction.

People have an expectation of technology from their personal lives, with apps that deliver everything and anything to their smart phone and other devices. They then experience a mismatch with their professional experience of BI, which tends to be rigid and difficult to adapt to changing needs. IT departments are often constrained by their technology platforms, security policies, procedures and culture. The upshot being that business users are tempted to bypass the IT department and find their own solutions

Clearly this tension is unhelpful and we work with clients to find solutions, bridging the gap between business expectations and the mandate of the IT team.

There is a risk if a business seeks to bypass IT altogether. Involving IT is still crucial as they have the skills and experience to sense check and verify any solution, to carry out risk assessments, establish data controls, and ensure supportability. There will also be work to enable data to move between systems. Business users need to rely on IT and IT teams shouldn’t let themselves get cut out of the loop.

IT teams can be held back by sensible conservatism, but proportionality should apply. The use of an approved vendor list and pre-approved technologies can be backward looking to historical providers. It’s important that IT teams stay with the pace of change. IT will have a valuable role in the due diligence process and also in educating users and building policies, culture, rules and regulations.

Can BI be delivered as a service?

The truth is that many companies are stuck on inflexible technology platforms that are costly to maintain and require large teams to produce standardised content.  In this case it is hard to keep up with changing requirements.  That won’t be the best starting point for creating app-like content which would be quickly and simply delivered, across all devices.

Modern BI tools provide better visualisation, collaboration and user experience – what’s not to love.  There is a proliferation of options but they don’t tend to be compatible within a traditional legacy systems approach.

Some companies are interested in the cloud as a means to move away from the purchase of more or different software and infrastructure. It helps avoid the internal constraints on capacity.  It offers increased control of the way you pay as you are only charged for what you need or use.  And implementation costs can be lower with quicker lead times and fewer resources required.

Some companies are going one step further and seeking to completely outsource BI to a service provider. With BI-as-a-service the solution can be instant and seamless – plug in and go. This delivers scalable capacity, delivered to your needs, applications and technology. DNASTREAM are now able to meet this demand.

Cloud technology has allowed DNASTREAM to provide BI-as-a-service with a monthly subscription to pay.  This can pay for building and managing standard reports and tailored views, to build the data architecture, data analysis, needs analysis/hierarchies, hosting, licencing, support and training. This complete package comes at a fixed but scalable cost.

To summarise

IT needs to be involved but they should be an enabler rather than a constraint; they need to apply a proportional response, rather than being bound by restrictive policies that can smother innovation.

The cloud offers new solutions to BI issues, including BI-as-a-service, which can provide an affordable option able to meet business user expectations, whilst ensuring IT continue to play a crucial role in maintaining standards and integrity.

To find out more about BI-as-a-service from DNASTREAM contact Andy Milner, or call 07816 508951.