Delivering broad access to data and analytics to a diverse base of users is an intimidating task, yet it is an essential foundation to becoming an insights-driven organization. To win and keep customers in an increasingly competitive world, firms need to take advantage of the huge swaths of data available and put it into the hands of more users.

To do this, business intelligence (BI) pros must evolve disjointed and convoluted data and analytics practices into well-orchestrated systems of insight that deliver actionable information. But implementing digital insights is just the first step with these systems — and few hit the bull's eye the first time. Continuously learning from previous insights and their results makes future efforts more efficient and effective. This is a key capability for the next-generation BI, what Forrester calls systems of insight.

"It's 10 o'clock! Do you know if your insights support actual verifiable facts?" This is a real challenge, as measuring report and dashboard effectiveness today involves mostly discipline and processes, not technology.

For example, if a data mining analysis predicted a certain number of fraudulent transactions, do you have the discipline and processes to go back and verify whether the prediction came true?

Or if a metrics dashboard was flashing red, telling you that inventory levels were too low for the current business environment, and the signal caused you to order more widgets, do you verify if this was a good or a bad decision? Did you make or lose money on the extra inventory you ordered? Organizations are still struggling with this ultimate measure of BI effectiveness.

Only 8% of Forrester clients report robust capabilities for such continuous improvement, and 39% report just a few basic capabilities.

Please take a look at the latest Forrester report which recommends the following six continuous improvement techniques:

  1. 1.       BI on BI
  2. 2.       Social tagging and crowdsourcing
  3. 3.       Agile BI
  4. 4.       Data exploration
  5. 5.       Machine learning
  6. 6.       Cognitive interactions


(About the author: Boris Evelson is ….. This post originally appeared on his Forrester blog, which can be viewed here)

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