The Future of Business Intelligence: Faster, Better, Cheaper

  • Ed Thompson, CTO
  • February 14, 2014

future of business intelligenceAccording to highly-regarded analyst firm Gartner, by 2016 it will be common practice to refer to on-premise ERP systems as ‘legacy’ software. This, it turns out, is a prediction that also says a lot about the future of Business Intelligence.

Why? Because if you drill down into the thinking behind Gartner’s conclusion, then it’s quickly clear that the future of Business Intelligence is very much subject to the same forces that are shaping ERP.

And those forces, says Gartner, are pushing ERP away from on-premise ‘mega-suites’, and towards a combination of cloud-based SaaS ERP, and niche ‘best of breed’ functionality, likewise SaaS and cloud-based.

Which strongly suggests that the future of Business Intelligence lies in the very same direction.

So let’s take a look at those forces.

The future of Business Intelligence: faster implementation

On-premise ERP implementations are known for their lengthy gestations. That’s perhaps understandable, given the scale of the work involved.

Unfortunately, on-premise Business Intelligence implementations are also known for their lengthy gestations, with statistics showing that the average on premise Business Intelligence project takes 12 24 months to come to fruition.

Which, frankly, is less understandable, because compared to ERP, a Business Intelligence system is far more focused, and with a much smaller footprint.

So if ERP is heading for a SaaS-based, cloud-driven future, then the argument that the future of Business Intelligence is also going to be SaaS-based and cloud-driven is even more compelling.

Indeed, we at Matillion already reckon to deliver an effective, enterprise quality, SaaS Business Intelligence and Self Service Reporting project in just a few weeks.

The future of Business Intelligence: better functionality

According to Gartner, companies have spent huge sums customising their ERP ‘mega-suites’ to deliver the precise functionality that they want. The result—as we all know—is ERP systems that are arthritic, inflexible, slow, and expensive to change.

Indeed, says Gartner, the notion of a single, integrated ERP system to handle a company’s every need “is being replaced by the emergence of cloud point solutions that deliver the functionality that business users want, which the IT controlled and centrally mandated ERP mega-suite previously struggled to deliver.”

How does that play in the world of Business Intelligence? Very comparably. Here at Matillion we often come across companies struggling to wrest information from vast, sclerotic on-premise Business Intelligence systems.

Our message to them: unshackle yourselves, and use the power of the cloud to run self-serve reports and easy-to-read executive dashboards against a cloud-based data warehouse. It’s the future of Business Intelligence.

The future of Business Intelligence: low-cost affordability

As a rough rule of thumb, the ancillary costs (installation, hardware, consultancy, support, staff etc) of an on-premise Business Intelligence solution are about 300 700% of the license cost of the software involved.

So if you’re looking at a £30,000 spend on software, you should plan to spend around £90,000 on everything else.

But SaaS Business Intelligence works to a different model. At Matillion, for instance, we deliver business intelligence projects on an affordable, fixed-price basis.

Which we can do because we have a well-tried implementation process, skilled personnel who have applied the process many times before, and a firm focus on a low-pain, rapid implementation that saves time and money.

Better still, instead of the hefty upfront investment of on-premise Business Intelligence, Matillion’s SaaS Business Intelligence is delivered via an all-inclusive monthly subscription that includes support and on going changes.

Powerfully, this also means that the costs of SaaS Business Intelligence are paid for by the benefits that it delivers.

The future of Business Intelligence: the bottom line

Is on-premise ERP dead yet? No, of course not. Is it dying? That’s a different question—and, reckons Gartner, by 2016, the adjective ‘legacy’ will increasingly being attached to on-premise ERP.

In which case, on-premise Business Intelligence can’t be far behind.

The inevitable conclusion: if you’re in the market for Business Intelligence, then buy the future of Business Intelligence, not the past.

If you want to know more about Business Intelligence, download our free E-Book below.