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Organisations failing to tap into business intelligence

The value of BI has been widely acknowledged, but is it delivering meaningful insight?

The majority of organisations are indifferent to the analysis they get from their data, indicating that business intelligence initiatives are having little or no impact on their businesses.

That is the claim of a recent study of 250 senior-level executives, conducted by OnePoll on behalf of business intelligence (BI) company Tableau Software, 41 percent of respondents said they were neither satisfied nor dissatisfied with their data analytics investments, and a further 12 percent said they were dissatisfied.

Tableau believes this indicates a disconnect between senior management and internal resources devoted to data analysis and management.

Data is widely acknowledged to be important in today's business, with organisations employing an average of seven members of staff to manage, analyse and extract data. With the proper data analytics tools, those resources may be reallocated to focus on making decisions and moving the business forward, according to Tableau.

"Traditional BI applications are like trains. You can make them faster, cheaper and easier to access, but no great discoveries are ever made by train," said Bruno Saint-Cast, VP for Europe at Tableau Software. "You need to get off the tracks."

Saint-Cast said that Tableau Software's Server offering, which helps organisations to quickly visualise and share information, was "more like a helicopter", because it empowers business people to do their own data analysis, without constantly having to refer back to the IT department.

The platform can turn millions of rows of data into charts, tables and maps in a few seconds. All the data is combined on an interactive dashboard that can be accessed through a browser, so employees can filter, highlight and drill down into the figures from any device. Users can drag and drop to combine data sets and analyse the relationships between them.

Philippa Cardinal, post production services manager at Discovery Europe, said that the organisation's deployment of Tableau BI had encouraged more people to make use of the data available. She said the software had been deployed with very little input from the IT department, and that Tableau's interactive dashboards "add a layer of professionalism" to presentations.

Saint-Cast added that Tableau aims to be to BI what Salesforce.com is to CRM. "Most enterprise software is very complex," he said. "Salesforce.com is as easy to use as a video game."

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