Younger generations are driving demand for Business Intelligence tools

  • Richard Thelwell
  • December 10, 2014

The adoption of Business Intelligence tools has been increasing steadily over the last couple of years. However, this growth has so far failed to meet expectations, despite there being a strong latent demand. The key to the increased penetration of these tools could lie with the younger generations of users who are championing this technology throughout their organisations.

Business Intelligence is by no means a new phenomenon – it has been around for decades and has taken many different forms. However, it has only been in more recent years that organisations have begun to understand the true benefits that business intelligence tools can have, and this has sparked a steady increase in adoption rates.

Despite this steady growth, usage still remains relatively low. A recent study found that in 60% of businesses, only 20% of employees had access to business intelligence tools. In order to improve this figure, it is critical that users are aware of the benefits of business intelligence tools and how to employ them effectively.

This is where a younger generation of users, a cohort who are more accustomed to this technology, could prove to be a pivotal factor in future growth. A generational shift is likely to affect company culture and, in particular, the company’s receptiveness to technologies such as business intelligence tools.

“Moving the needle”

Former Gartner analyst, Howard Dresner recently discussed this generational shift and its effect on business intelligence tools in an interview with Enterprise Apps Today.

In regards to the slow, but steady spread of business intelligence tools across organisations, he stated that “We’re moving the needle, but it takes time”. It is clear that company culture is unlikely to change suddenly overnight. However, as a younger generation begins to infiltrate businesses slowly, they will bring new ideas, new priorities and new technological demands.

Business Intelligence tools moving the needle
The adoption of Business Intelligence Tools is growing steadily

Dresner compares the adoption rates of business intelligence tools to the evolution of the PC. He states that:

“In the early ’80s only senior managers had a PC in their office on a table somewhere. For most of them, it was a status symbol. They hardly knew how to turn it on,”

“It wasn’t until you had a generational change and those that had been through business school with PCs embraced the technology that PCs became mainstream,” he said.

“If you went to business school now, you’d learn a lot about BI and analytics.”

Greater exposure to business intelligence tools

One of the reasons that this generational shift has caused such a change in organisations’ attitude towards business intelligence tools is that younger generations have had much greater exposure to analytics and business intelligence tools from an early age.

Whether it be through sport, computer games or social media, most young people these days will have access to some level of data analytics. Access to this information from a younger age is likely to enhance their understanding of the role that analytics has to play, not only in business, but in many aspects of life.

With a greater appreciation for the role of analytics, this younger generation will continue to increase their consumption of data. This will create demand for higher performance, more efficient and cleverer business intelligence tools.

More accessible business intelligence tools

Another factor behind the increasing usage of business intelligence tools amongst younger generations is that these tools are becoming increasingly accessible through platforms such as Cloud BI and mobile.

In a modern business, it has become increasingly important that users can access data on the go, anywhere in the world, across a range of different devices. As business intelligence tools have become more compatible with these demands, there has been an increase in adoption rates amongst the younger generation of users.

Business Intelligence tools mobile access
It is becomingly increasingly important that Business Intelligence Tools are available on-the-go

Dresner states that for “younger generations of users, the tablet is their preferred device, not just for consumption but for interaction, even as they move into the corporate world. So mobile BI is inevitably where we’re headed.”

The future of business intelligence tools

So what does this mean for the future of business intelligence tools?

Whilst a great amount of impetus is coming from these younger generations of users, there is no reason why businesses cannot experience success with these tools right now, with the staff who are already in place.

It may seem like a daunting task attempting to convince senior executives of the value of these tools, but by educating staff across the business, it will hopefully become apparent that the ROI of these business intelligence tools is great.

In the long run, younger generations of users will drive increased adoption rates across organisations. There will also be greater pressure on vendors to continuously improve their services and the business intelligence tools that they offer.

To find out more about the business intelligence tools available, download our complete guide today