Last week, I was out on the road talking to customers and prospects but I did manage to follow the Friday tweetchat #BIWisdom which is organized by Howard Dresner of Dresner Advisory Services(@howarddresner). Howard is preparing to release his Wisdom of the Crowds BI survey and was previewing some of the findings around happiness and success of BI in the survey.Interestingly, 48% of respondents indicated their BI project was moderately successful. It is amazing that more than 50% of companies are still not finding success. Unfortunately, this is not a surprise because BI projects are legendary for their failure rate – Forrester research has suggested 90% of BI projects fail. From what I’ve seen, the times are changing fast.

When I talk to customers, I continually learn from their enthusiasm and excitement about our approach to rethinking analytics. Much of the enthusiasm stems from the fact that users want a different approach - analytical apps that are actionable on devices they use, not one more BI report or dashboard. I am often asked, “With our current BI solutions, why do we have to use seven or eight tools to get answers? Why does it feel so disconnected from how we want to run our business?”

A senior finance executive told me last week, “We know pretty much what is happening right now, but I have no ability to see around the corner. We have no idea what is going to happen in Q3, much less Q4.” That’s because your data is locked up in technology of the past.

You will not be able to see around the corner if your BI technology was developed around the same time green bar reports turned into data warehousing. (when Dresner first coined the term “business intelligence”)

You cannot find new revenue in existing data (it’s there) if your last decision on analytics tools was made by the IT department instead of the business people.

Your dashboard is not giving you insight if it is a single island. Limited data comes with limited ability to really analyze and impact the business.

Businesses which invest aggressively in analytics and BI should see substantial business returns. However, Dresner noted in the Friday #BIWisdom chat that larger organizations today are still less likely to be successful than smaller counterparts.

Today the marketplace has been consolidated, with the top three legacy vendors IBM, SAP and Oracle owning two thirds of the market share. These vendors offer poorly integrated suites of financial tools, BI dashboards and reports, and are aggressively pushing new appliance offerings. Unfortunately, the technology stacks consolidated ten years ago are still the code bases being sold today, and are ending up as over-specified, inefficient private cloud shelfware.

It is no surprise then that business users continue to be frustrated with these old world tools. Today most enterprises still have multiple data silos, a multiplicity of BI tools and rampant usage of Excel. The predictable result is high cost, low adoption, heavy IT intervention and support from analysts across the company who pull from tens of systems to construct plans, evaluate models and push metrics up to the executive suite. It should be easier and more cost effective to pull this data together.

In today’s high velocity business environment, the approach to analytics is changing, and this time the change is coming from the business users – those people doing real planning outside IT or the finance department. Business owners and department heads are demanding a new approach, fast results and real actionable insight.This was reflected in Dresner’s #BIWisdom chat, where he tweeted,

“since the business is more likely to embrace newer technology, younger suppliers appear to have more successful customers”

He went on to comment that this smaller vendor segment is adding customers aggressively, which is good news for business owners. Today’s enterprise is looking for new thinking and new approaches to technology to deliver real insight in order to see around corners and help them translate information into action.

As Dresner noted in the Friday chat, there is a “fundamental shift going on in the market due to pent up and unsatisfied demand.” It is a new world and it is time for business people to not only think differently about BI and analytics, but to demand new solutions.

From what we are seeing in the market, the times are in fact changing. Business people are no longer satisfied, and they are demanding a different approach. We welcome that challenge.