In fact, it is quite difficult to be “simple”, as one of our partners recently told me. Creating a Business Intelligence application that provides the information needed by decision makers, without any obstacle, is really difficult to do, and this was one of the main objectives that we set when we created our first application on a cloud platform for business Intelligence
More details about how simple a business analysis should be.
Our team has grown with business intelligence tools from a variety of suppliers, and we have seen a technological change according to business needs and personal preferences. In the first days, before the spreadsheet appeared, what is now known as Business Intelligence was called “Decision support”, and products and systems dominated this sector.
These products were mainly intended for analysts, accountants and statisticians who could create models with formulas, rules, aggregations and logic applied to several data sets to build models on which to base estimates or make decisions. Then, these models can be changed when new data sets are applied and several “what if” scenarios can be organized.
This was followed by the executive information systems, mainframe-based visualization tools, which were provided with the same data, but then tried to present the results in a way that senior managers and decision makers could understand in the organization. It was the first attempt to simplify the situation; the problem was that they were very expensive and needed a computer with a mainframe to start them.
This was granted in large part to the ubiquitous spreadsheet, which, due to its low price and availability on the PC, became a standard for all and was used not only for data modeling and analysis, but also as a standard. Tool to create all kinds of personal applications, from databases to processing. Texts, people even came across a debtor system, completely built in Excel! The spreadsheet has become extremely popular, and the Decision Support Systems / Executive Information Systems have decreased and have almost disappeared.
But the spreadsheet began to show its limitations, mainly because it was a “personal” tool and was not easy to use. Therefore, people were able to understand the spreadsheet and all the formulas and rules used to create a model, but they generally found it difficult to understand other people’s spreadsheets when there was some degree of difficulty. It was also very easy to change someone’s spreadsheet by adding a line or changing a formula or breaking a macro. This led to the appearance of several versions of all the spreadsheets, and this meant that most of the management meetings started with an attempt to establish who had the correct version and which version should be used to make decisions.
Limiting the volume to one million rows also meant that the spreadsheets were not suitable for large data sets.
So introduce specialized Business Intelligence solutions from large organizations. These software products were available on PCs and servers so that the organization could create models for the entire company that could use everything (they all had the same version of the truth) and invariably consulted the data sources at regular intervals so that they could be available The date with the corresponding data was not a problem. These systems are still very popular, and as a sign of their popularity, we have seen how these suppliers were acquired in recent years by IBM and SAP, respectively.
Most people think that business intelligence tools are good! Improve the ability of organizations to detect hidden trends and, as a rule, provide more “understanding” for decision making. They also believe that their development is slow, relatively expensive and prone to failures, especially if the data is incorrect and the BI tool is to blame. In addition, these systems remain a prerogative of the few in most companies that are willing to spend a decent amount of time analyzing and studying data to better understand them. Basically, these people will be very familiar with the created models and will get real benefits from the software. But a much larger group of people will want to consume data quickly, simply trying to keep up with the latest developments and be aware of any major changes. These current solutions are too complex to meet this requirement, are too expensive and require too much support to support them.
Recent trends show that attention is decreasing and the desire for simplicity is increasing, you just have to see how we use websites or social networks. Everyone wants immediate results, they do not learn to use the product, and they do not want to involve IT professionals. If they can avoid it, they need low-cost solutions that are paid for by subscription and want accessibility anywhere and on any device. The cloud is the answer. BI applications provide all this and more: take a look at our applications.