What is Modern BI and How is it Different From Traditional BI?

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Click to learn more about author Kartik Patel.

Business intelligence isn’t new but the way we gather, analyze, and digest this intelligence is definitely changing. In the past, business intelligence was delivered to senior executives by IT or business analysts or both. The combination of a fast-paced business environment and limited budgets and resources means that most organizations now must optimize their resources and time in order to produce results. There are few businesses today that have the luxury of waiting for information, data, or reports.

What is Modern BI?

Modern BI addresses the new business reality. It should satisfy the needs of the average business user with self-serve tools that have sophisticated features in an easy-to-use integrated BI environment. Modern BI shifts the focus away from IT and data scientist analysis and reporting and offers mainstream tools with access and flexibility so that business users can produce reports and analysis on-the-fly and share data with other users to make decisions and optimize business results.

BI dashboards are more flexible and support personalization. They are no longer restricted to formats and delivery designed by IT. Disparate data sources are integrated into a uniform view, so users can drag and drop data and interact with the tools. The design of modern BI tools recognizes the reality of time-sensitive, rapidly changing business markets and competitive positioning and provides more options and flexibility to support data popularity, social BI and power users within the organization. Every business understands the value of objective metrics and accurate analysis and the modern BI environment is designed to support these goals at every level of the organization.

How is Modern BI Different From Traditional BI?

The primary difference between traditional BI and the new, more modern approach to BI lies in flexibility and accessibility. The more traditional tools were designed for use by analysts or IT staff and while these tools provided sophisticated features, these features were not accessible or easy to understand for anyone outside the analyst or technical community. The traditional tools were not scalable or flexible enough for mobile, nor did they provide guided, auto-recommendations in a natural language environment.

Because traditional BI solutions were not designed to support use by team members within the line of business or business users in general, the enterprise could not capitalize on the unique perspective, knowledge or skill of these users to advance business results, plan for future results, or solve problems.

Gartner predicted in its 2017 report, Technology Insight for Modern Analytics and Business Intelligence Platforms, that “by 2020, smart/augmented, nonrelational-, search- and visual-based data discovery capabilities will converge into a single set of next-generation data discovery capabilities as components of modern BI and analytics platforms.”

Modern BI solutions allow for and support user adoption, and deliver more benefit, better ROI, and lower TCO to the organization by empowering business users and holding each team member accountable for results. While traditional BI was the domain of IT and the analyst community, the modern BI environment expands the use of analytical tools throughout the organization. Modern BI frees the IT and analyst team to focus on more strategic goals. Modern BI supports collaboration, while providing appropriate data governance and data security.

The modern BI environment provides a foundation of data source integration, sophisticated analytical models and techniques and an easy-to-use, intuitive interface with auto-suggestions and recommendations for analytical techniques and report formats and publishing tools, alerts and analysis sharing that are easy for the average business user to adopt.

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