This year saw a surge in the use of business intelligence in production and operations departments, and customer analysis emerged as the number one investment area for new business intelligence projects.

Those are two of the finding of the new BI Survey 16 from the Business Application Research Centre (BARC), and analyst and consulting firm for enterprise software, with a focus on business intelligence, data management, enterprise content management, customer relationship management, and enterprise resource planning.

Each year BARC polls business intelligence professionals for their take on what is hot in the area of BI, and what to expect in the year ahead. This year’s study is based on a survey of over 3,000 BI professionals worldwide on their software selection, implementation, and usage.

This year’s survey revealed several trends, including the fact that collaboration and sensor data analysis are now established as critical BI components for many organizations.

“While BI has always been strong in sales and finance, production and operations departments have traditionally been more cautious about adopting it,” says Carsten Bango, CEO of BARC. “But with the general trend for using data to support decision-making, this has all changed. Technology for areas such as event processing and real-time data integration and visualization has become more widely available in recent years. Also, the wave of big data from the Internet of Things and the Industrial Internet has increased awareness and demand for analytics, and will likely continue to drive further BI usage in production and operations.”

The survey finds that some BI trends that were “a buzz” a few years ago now serve as critical BI components for a growing number of organizations. Survey respondents reported the following levels of adoption:

  • Data discovery/visualization = 58 percent
  • Self-service BI = 55 percent
  • BI with real-time data = 29 percent
  • Collaboration = 29 percent
  • Visual design standards = 24 percent
  • Mobile BI = 23 percent
  • Spatial/location analysis = 19 percent
  • Sensor data analysis = 16 percent
  • Text data analysis = 15 percent
  • Cloud BI/BIaaS = 12 percent
  • Social media analysis = 6 percent

Further, the survey found that 40 percent of organizations are now putting their BI budgets into customer behavior analysis, and 32 percent are investing in developing a unified view of customers.
“With areas such as accounting and finance more or less under control, companies are moving to other areas of the enterprise, in particular to gain a better understanding of customer, market and competitive dynamics,” says Bange.

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