The Future of Business Analytics: Mobility and Depth

By | Apr 13, 2012

The growth of analytics over the past few years has already had a massive impact on general business decisions, greatly helping those who understand the benefits of business analytics and hurting those who have yet to grasp the concept. As this technology matures, IT managers need to understand the growing importance of mobility when it comes to data availability and the importance of data depth when it comes to influencing business decisions.

Mobility and Immediacy

The next big wave in business analytics is going to center around mobility, or more precisely, the ability for business leaders to get up-to-date metrics regardless of their physical location. As this CIO article discusses, the growth of the mobile workforce, led by the tablet explosion, has brought many executives around to the idea of having all their business data available whenever they need it.

As companies see productivity wasted by employees having to wait for information or having to contact other employees or departments to get access to specific pieces of data, they become more eager to embrace mobility as the answer. Mobile applications are easier to understand and use, and when paired with analytics systems capable of real-time results, they add an immediacy to the data that's been missing in traditional systems.

IDC is already calling 2012 the year of mobile ascendency, as mobile devices and applications overtake traditional systems, at least in terms of shipments and spending. Business intelligence systems developers are acutely aware of this fact and are expanding their offerings to include mobile access. Now it's just up to IT managers to ensure that the company's mobile infrastructure is ready.

The Power of Analytics

For technology companies, the concepts behind powerful business analytics are obvious, and often the hardware needed to crunch the numbers is already on site. For other types of companies, the benefits of big data might be difficult to immediately quantify and the expense of a complete solution may be sizable, so it can be easy to overlook just what all that data can do for a business.

As detailed in this Technically Philly article, even sports teams are coming around to the idea of robust, accessible business intelligence. Teams like the NHL's Washington Capitals are using advanced analytics to give them insight into how their business is operating and provide clues into how to better run the organization. Insights into how weather patterns affect attendance or how open gate positions alter traffic patterns can help the organization change how it runs things to best serve its customers. These analytics are helpful, not only because they are updated consistently but because they are presented in a manner that makes it easy for decision makers, who aren't always technically savvy, to understand.

Midsize businesses can use these same concepts to give themselves an edge over the competition. Every aspect of a business, from sales to manufacturing to even human resources, has the potential to present the company and its executives with a plethora of critical information. With the growth of analytics over the past few years, the only real question left is whether or not the executives and IT managers are ready and willing to harness all that data. Those who aren't may quickly find their companies falling behind.

This post was written as part of the IBM for Midsize Business program, which provides midsize businesses with the tools, expertise and solutions they need to become engines of a smarter planet. Become a fan of the program on Facebook. Follow us on Twitter.

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