What Matters Most In Business Intelligence, 2019

Improving revenues using BI is now the most popular objective enterprises are pursuing in 2019.
Reporting, dashboards, data integration, advanced visualization, and end-user self-service are the most strategic BI initiatives underway in enterprises today.
Operations, Executive Management, Finance, and Sales are primarily driving Business Intelligence (BI) adoption throughout enterprises today.
Tech companies’ Operations & Sales teams are the most effective at driving BI adoption across industries surveyed, with Advertising driving BI adoption across Marketing.

These and many other fascinating insights are from Dresner Advisory Associates’ 10th edition of its popular Wisdom of Crowds® Business Intelligence Market Study. The study is noteworthy in that it provides insights into how enterprises are expanding their adoption of Business Intelligence (BI) from centralized strategies to tactical ones that seek to improve daily operations. The Dresner research teams’ broad assessment of the BI market makes this report unique, including their use visualizations that provide a strategic view of market trends. The study is based on interviews with respondents from the firms’ research community of over 5,000 organizations as well as vendors’ customers and qualified crowdsourced respondents recruited over social media. Please see pages 13 – 16 for the methodology.
Key insights from the study include the following:

Operations, Executive Management, Finance, and Sales are primarily driving Business Intelligence (BI) adoption throughout their enterprises today. More than half of the enterprises surveyed see these four departments as the primary initiators or drivers of BI initiatives. Over the last seven years, Operations departments have most increased their influence over BI adoption, more than any other department included in the current and previous survey. Marketing and Strategic Planning are also the most likely to be sponsoring BI pilots and looking for new ways to introduce BI applications and platforms into use daily.

Tech companies’ Operations & Sales teams are the most effective at driving BI adoption across industries surveyed, with Advertising driving BI adoption across Marketing. Retail/Wholesale and Tech companies’ sales leadership is primarily driving BI adoption in their respective industries. It’s not surprising to see the leading influencer among Healthcare respondents is resource-intensive HR. The study found that Executive Management is most likely to drive business intelligence in consulting practices most often.

Reporting, dashboards, data integration, advanced visualization, and end-user self-service are the most strategic BI initiatives underway in enterprises today. Second-tier initiatives include data discovery, data warehousing, data discovery, data mining/advanced algorithms, and data storytelling. Comparing the last four years of survey data, Dresner’s research team found reporting retains all-time high scores as the top priority, and data storytelling, governance, and data catalog hold momentum. Please click on the graphic to expand for easier reading.

BI software providers most commonly rely on executive-level personas to design their applications and add new features. Dresner’s research team found all vertical industries except Business Services target business executives first in their product design and messaging. Given the customer-centric nature of advertising and consulting services business models, it is understandable why the primary focus BI vendors rely on in selling to them are customer personas. The following graphic compares targeted users for BI by industry.

Improving revenues using BI is now the most popular objective in 2019, despite BI initially being positioned as a solution for compliance and risk management. Executive Management, Marketing/Sales, and Operations are driving the focus on improving revenues this year. Nearly 50% of enterprises now expect BI to deliver better decision making, making the areas of reporting, and dashboards must-have features. Interestingly, enterprises aren’t looking to BI as much for improving operational efficiencies and cost reductions or competitive advantages. Over the last 12 to 18 months, more tech manufacturing companies have initiated new business models that require their operations teams to support a shift from products to services revenues. An example of this shift is the introduction of smart, connected products that provide real-time data that serves as the foundation for future services strategies. Please click on the graphic to expand for easier reading.

In aggregate, BI is achieving its highest levels of adoption in R&D, Executive Management, and Operations departments today. The growing complexity of products and business models in tech companies, increasing reliance on analytics and BI in retail/wholesale to streamline supply chains and improve buying experiences are contributing factors to the increasing levels of BI adoption in these three departments. The following graphic compares BI’s level of adoption by function today.

Enterprises with the largest BI budgets this year are investing more heavily into dashboards, reporting, and data integration. Conversely, those with smaller budgets are placing a higher priority on open source-based big data projects, end-user data preparation, collaborative support for group-based decision-making, and enterprise planning. The following graphic provides insights into technologies and initiatives strategic to BI at an enterprise level by budget plans.

Marketing/Sales and Operations are using the greatest variety of BI tools today. The survey shows how conversant Operations professionals are with the BI tools in use throughout their departments. Every one of them knows how many and most likely which types of BI tools are deployed in their departments. Across all industries, Research & Development (R&D), Business Intelligence Competency Center (BICC), and IT respondents are most likely to report they have multiple tools in use.

How Business Intelligence Tools Are Transforming Small Businesses

Business Intelligence (BI), the analysis of business data to extract useful information, has been making the headlines lately, and for a good reason – it’s a game changer. Although still at the infancy stages, businesses that implement BI are not only guaranteed improved sales but can also expect better relationships with their customers.
With more and more businesses jumping onto the bandwagon (Gartner expects BI to be a $22.8 Billion market by 2022), you too should consider investing in BI tools. If you’re still on the fence about the technology, the following are five key BI benefits that will change your mind.
1. Turn raw data into actionable information
Many businesses already collect tons of data. From customer contacts to demographic information, sales data and so forth, SMBs have huge volumes of data waiting somewhere on a PC, external drive, or perhaps even on the cloud.
Unfortunately, collecting data alone can’t help you make useful decisions. You could have several terabytes of data on your server, but if you can’t break down and analyze that information, your small business is no different from those that don’t collect any data.
The primary function of BI is to help convert raw data into useful information for business executives. Through BI tools such as Sisense and TIBCO Spotfire, you can break down large pieces of data and analyze each closely to obtain actionable insights.
2. Make smarter decisions
The way BI tools work is simple – they serve as a technical backbone to all your business activities. All the data generated from every corner of the business goes into a central repository and, from there, a thorough analysis is performed on the data to obtain insight.
Customer Relationship Management (CRM) solution such as Looker typically serves as the heart of the BI system. But remember that a well-implemented CRM system also serves as a bridge between teams in the organization and will help small business owners run reports that deliver key performance metrics, including; productivity, staff performance, sales cycles, core customers, product preferences, market trends, and revenues.
With a BI solution in place, all this information is channeled through the system so that the information can be analyzed alongside other critical data from other areas of the business such as accounting and human resources. In the end, any decision business executives make are based on hard facts and not assumptions or guesswork.
3. Deepen your customer knowledge
We already touched on CRM systems and customer data and therein lies another massive benefit of BI – they help businesses gain a better understanding of their customers.
Markets are saturated; there’s no denying that. This saturation gives consumers plenty of options, making the current market hard to target.
And then, there are technologies that continue to grab consumer attention. A recent study by The Next Web shows that we now spend 6 hours 42 minutes online on average, with most of that time spent playing video games, watching videos, and chatting on social media.
These two trends have pushed the customer as far away from brands as possible, which partly explains why customer loyalty is at an all-time low.
To solve this problem, businesses must find ways to understand their customers better. And that’s where BI comes in! Through BI solutions such as YellowFin BI, you can draw together data from all platforms and various departments, including; sales, marketing, customer service, operations, product development, and finance to create a single source of truth about each customer. As a result, you create a working New Customer Journey for each product or campaign.
4. Deliver exemplary customer experiences
According to another Gartner report, customer experience (CX) is the new battlefront for business competition. The report shows that businesses that are winning the CX battle record more new customers while at the same time retaining most of their existing clients. It further states that owing to the importance of customer experience, 66.67% of businesses say that they have shifted focus to CX.
If you belong in this category, BI solutions such as SAP Business Intelligence can help you advance your customer experience goals. We’ve already seen that BI pulls all vital customer information into a central repository, making it possible to make informed decisions and allowing businesses to understand their customers better. This understanding of your customers can help you give each customer exactly what they want.
One way this works is when sending out advertisements. A large number of consumers have installed ad blockers just because they often receive endless ads, some completely irrelevant to their needs. BI tools help advertisers with information to send the right ads at the right time, so you don’t end up in the consumers’ bad books.
BI can also prove useful in customer support and during the purchase journey as it allows businesses to remove danger spots that might compromise the customer experience.
5. Boost data governance and compliance
While not a primary function of business intelligence, the tools can also help with data governance and compliance.
With regards to governance, think of it this way – without a central repository, business data is left floating around in multiple silos, making it impossible to achieve a 360-degree view of your customers. It means that some of the customer actions may pass you by without you being aware of it. This cannot be allowed as even a small loophole in the sales system opens up gaps for wasted spend and revenue loss. Tools such as MicroStrategy brings all your data into a central warehouse where you can monitor and act upon each customer activity promptly.
As for compliance, the gaps we just mentioned can be costly if they breach the increasingly strong data regulations. Sending insensitive communications, for example, attracts hefty fines in most countries, including the US. Then, there are also laws such as the European General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), which was recently enacted to govern capture, storage, and usage of personal data. Without a sound data management system, it’s easy to make mistakes that breach these laws.
BI goes a long way in keeping data accurate and up to date so small business owners can avoid any mistakes that might breach data regulations.
The Bottom Line
The role of BI in the modern-day company cannot be overstressed. When you implement these tools, you’re not just guaranteed better insights that would help you make improved decisions, you’re also investing in a solution that would help you understand your customers so you can delight them with improved customer experiences.

Trends in Cloud Jobs in 2019

Trends in cloud jobs can be overall indicators into trends in the cloud computing space. With an ever-evolving and increasing use of cloud services, new and important changes are needed to the skillsets, roles, and responsibilities of cloud professionals. Here are some trends we’re seeing.
The Cloud Job Market is on the Rise
There is exponential growth in the cloud computing industry, so it’s no surprise that the demand for cloud computing intellect and skills is also increasing, with no slowing down in the foreseeable future. According to Gartner TalentNeuron, an online real-time labor market insight portal, “there are about 50,248 cloud computing positions available in the U.S. from 3,701 employers, and 101,913 open positions worldwide.”
As more and more enterprises drive value from container platforms, infrastructure-as-code solutions, software-defined networking, storage, continuous integration/delivery, and AI, they need people and skills on board with ever more niche expertise and deep technological understanding. Anecdotally, many organizations we talk to share that getting and keeping talent on board is a challenge as they seek to evolve their use of cloud services. The cloud jobs that are available in the market today are a result of employer demand to drive innovation and are paramount for new business applications and services to the end-user.
Cloud Talent Demand Trends
Here are a few roles and talent areas that will see increased demand this year.
Cloud Architect
Cloud Architects are experts responsible for the supervision of a company’s cloud computing system, overseeing the organization’s cloud computing strategy through deployment, management, and support of cloud applications. A Cloud Architect has a strong background in networking, programming, multiple operating systems, and security. In addition, they also have a strong knowledge of cloud services such as AWS, Google or Azure, with experience on ITSM, I&O, governance, automation, and vendor management. Here at ParkMyCloud, we talk to a lot of Cloud Architects!
Cloud Architects are also known as Cloud Developer or Cloud Systems Administrator. When it comes to getting hired, an AWS Certified Solutions Architect – Associate, Microsoft Certified: Azure Solutions Architect Expert or Google Certified Professional Cloud Architect certification are currently the industry standard to help you emerge above the rest in this cloud job arena.
Cloud Consultants
Cloud consultants are “the experts” who can help an organization conduct an overall technical analysis and assessment of the enterprise and recommend suitable cloud technology options to promote productivity and efficiency. A Cloud Consultant’s education background includes IT or business administration, IT consulting experience and highly effective communication skills. A Cloud Consultant’s expert knowledge of cloud service providers and cloud technologies available is key to provide maximum value to an enterprise.
You may find of interest, cloud computing careers relatable to Cloud Consultants include Cloud Security Engineers, Cloud Operations Engineers, and Cloud Infrastructure Engineers. An educational path to becoming a Cloud Consultant ranges from studying different programming languages to getting certified – although not necessarily required – in a single or multi-cloud computing systems.
Business Intelligence Analyst
A BI analyst has strong skills in database technology, analytics, and reporting tools and excellent knowledge and understanding of computer science, information systems or engineering. Skills necessary to understand a company’s cloud needs through data interpretation and be able to collate and cogently communicate cloud-based services and cloud strategy solutions to drive actionable results. An important role in the cloud management of businesses as demand for data and data analysts increases. BI analyst will collaborate with many individuals in the IT department in an organization to maximize proficiency and productivity.
BI Analyst can also be described as BI Developers, BI Managers, and Big Data Engineer or Data Scientist. To work in BI, you do not need to be certified, but it may help you get an advantage when considered for a job, with certifications like Certified Business Intelligence Professional and Certified Application Associate: Business Intelligence.
IoT Engineer
An internet of things (IoT) engineer is an IT professional who is an expert in at least one or more of the core IoT disciplines: devices, connectivity, edge and cloud analytics, enterprise integration, platforms, and development and DevOps. Job titles for IoT engineers in the industry depend on the discipline they focus on, for example, the can be called IoT Architect, IoT Data Scientist or IoT Hardware Engineer, but all have in common an in-depth knowledge in specific subject matters of IoT in comparison to other engineers, making them the right person when it comes to decision making regarding the specific IoT subject matter. The main responsibility of IoT engineers is to help businesses keep up with IoT technology trends.
According to Gartner, “By 2022, 80% of leading I&O organizations will devise I&O strategies for digital business initiatives such as artificial intelligence and IoT.” And, if you have any doubt that this is important in the cloud space, just see how many of AWS’s new services this year are IoT-focused.
The Future of Cloud Computing Jobs
In today’s trends in cloud computing jobs, if you’re looking to get involved in cloud for the first time, check out these 4 Cloud Computing Jobs to Check Out If You Want to Break Into the Space. Or, perhaps consider these interesting cloud job titles we came across for the future:

Data Detective
Master of Edge Computing
Cyber City Analyst
Man-Machine Teaming Manager
Quantum Machine Learning Analyst

Cloud computing growth continues to accelerate at unprecedented rates as businesses continue to invest in cloud services like SaaS, PaaS, and IaaS. The adoption of cloud technology platforms, empowers businesses with unlimited possibilities for innovation, but in order to stay at pace with this innovation and the dizzying array of services being offered by Amazon, Microsoft, Google, IBM all businesses will need skilled resources offering cloud computing professionals a very promising career in the cloud industry for years to come.
What trends are you seeing? Let us know in the comments below.

How Scaling Companies Lean on Content to Grow, Engage and Entertain Customers

I’ve been a content marketer for a whopping two and half years. That’s not a lot of time. In my past life, I considered myself a journalist. I wrote fashion and beauty news for ELLE, and then moved to writing branded content for Mashable — which became my launching pad for a career in content marketing.
As it turns out, there isn’t too much different about a branded content article on a site like Mashable or Buzzfeed or Forbes or Fast Company — nearly everyone is doing them these days — and writing article copy for an actual brand. At least, there really isn’t that much different in theory.
After all, public perception of your brand is your brand. There are plenty of stats that tell us that:
70% of buying experiences are based on how the customer feels they are being treated
80% of companies say they deliver “superior” customer service
8% of people think these same companies deliver “superior” customer service
Americans tell an average of 9 people about good experiences, and tell 16 people about poor experiences
This is why it is so crucial that brands be efficient in speaking to their customers on social, in blog posts and, yes, on sites like Mashable, Buzzfeed, Forbes and Fast Company. Wherever your audience is, whatever it is that they are reading, your content –– i.e. your brand’s voice –– should be there too.
And what if it isn’t? What if you opt to do display and banner ads instead? What if you sponsor ads on Google? What if you retarget and follow your customers all around the web? What if you do all of these without providing any context or enabling any other connection point between your customer and your brand?
Well, then you’re a stalker.
Let’s take that very same idea, and drop it into a different scenario. What if you hosted a party, and someone attractive came. You didn’t speak. There was no verbal connection and they may not have even made eye contact with you. After the party, though, you begin to show up everywhere they go. Your OKCupid profile picture pops up on their Facebook feed. You begin going to their church or their yoga class or their business presentation (or all three!). You want them to be interested, you want them to feel the same connection you do — that one you never actually created. What are you?
You’re a stalker. A relatively innovative one, but a stalker nonetheless.
Now, just as for actual people, your presence doesn’t make an immediate connection — and even if it does, its fleeting. What people remember, what your target audience, what your prospective customer, what your next possible date, will most remember about you — and this applies to brands — is what you say, how you say it and how well you prove that what you said is true, honest and human.
Content doesn’t just control your brand then. Content is your brand, because customer perception is your brand — and customer perception is shaped most significantly by your content.
Now, content is everything. It is your tweet, it is the LinkedIn article your CEO writes, it is what your sales person says to close a deal, it is even what your sales person says when a deal suddenly falls through and the person on the other end of the line is being insanely rude. Content is every single aspect of tone, charisma, thought leadership and engagement that your brand participates in in one way or another.
This sounds like a lot to manage — and rest assured, it is. But the trick isn’t to be perfect. The trick isn’t even to be identical in how you talk to customers, as if every single person that works at your company is a clone of the next. The trick is to be human, it is to be honest, it is to be true to what you say.
That’s how you make friends in real life — and that’s how you win loyal customers for your brand.
OK — so, you don’t have to be perfect, but you do need to be strategic. Brands aren’t people. Brands are a conglomerate of many, many agile and intelligent minds all working toward a similar and agreed upon goal.
People on the other hand are not conglomerates. People are free agents acting according to their own individual goals — or often just whims. Brands need more guidance than that. Brands need to ask, they need to double check, they need someone at the executive level to sign off (depending on your org chart). And that’s not a bad thing. What it is, though, is a lot of work for a content team.
The Hubspot Content Model
Let’s take Hubspot for example. I’m sure most of you, perhaps even all of you, have read a blog post or two from them. They manage three different blog verticals, at least that’s what a reader can see. Likely, because they are Hubspot, they segment much more once you fall into one of their nurture streams. Speaking of nurture streams, more content is needed in there to push warm leads to becoming hot leads — or at least engaged members of the Hubspot readership community. To get those warm leads, they first have to pull in completely cold leads and they do this through their social channels.
Ah, yes, more content.
They tweet, post and share their own blog posts as well as that of other brands and publishers. Their editors and content team members also tweet, post and share blog posts they worked on. All of that is Hubspot branded content — even when it is coming from an editor’s personal account. That message needs to be on brand — but fitting for both the editor and Hubspot.
Then, when you actually talk to Hubspot, like actually get into their sales funnel, these guys are great! They talk to you about blog posts, they send you blog posts, they reference blog posts, they make you feel like if you aren’t reading their blog posts — well, what are you doing online?
All in all, these guys are zipped up. The sales team knows their content and they know that content is their brand. And, everyone at their company knows it, too.
So, let’s wrangle all of this down a bit. Few of us are at a Hubspot business level. How does a scaling company implement this content is the brand philosophy? Well, you first put in place a cross-organizational content team. This means that every single person at your business can and ideally will be a content contributor. This doesn’t mean they have to be the best writer in the building. That’s what you hire a content marketer for — to do the edits, to rewrite when necessary, to make sure everything going out is on-brand, even when the tone varies based on the author.
For most content teams, the best way to do this is by working closely with your sales, campaigns, support, product and BI teams. For more information on exactly how a business, like Bigcommerce, puts this to work, stay tuned for a future blog post.