At the National Retail Federation (NRF) trade show in early January, I was staffing our booth one afternoon when a few folks from an electronic payment technology provider came up to learn more about QlikView. We discussed their needs and QlikView's differentiators and then one of them said, "We don't need a reporting tool. We have Business Objects for that. What we need is a business investigation tool." They needed a way to look for patterns and insights in their data-quickly and easily. I told them that we think of this as Business Discovery?and got nods all around.
What Is Business Discovery?
Business Discovery is the next generation of BI. It bridges the gap between traditional BI solutions and standalone office productivity applications, enabling users to forge new paths and make new discoveries. It brings a whole new level of analysis, insight, and value to existing data stores with user interfaces that are clean, simple, and straightforward. It works with what you have and infuses new capabilities into BI:
- Insight for everyone. Instead of just a few people involved in insight creation, Business Discovery enables everyone to create insight. It is about providing data access and analysis to individuals and groups, and letting them get what they need more rapidly and precisely than ever before.
- Zero-wait analysis. Business Discovery radically collapses time to insight with zero-wait, instantaneous results. Users simply call up data, ask questions, and receive answers-all on the fly, all on their own.
- Mobility. Business decision makers want to work how and where they like-whether that be in the warehouse, on the customer site, or on the trade show floor. Tablets and other large-form-factor mobile devices promise to make business data ubiquitous. Business Discovery platforms provide an intuitive interface and application infrastructure that is tailor-made to exploit the opportunity of a mobile, empowered workforce.
- An app-like delivery model. Business Discovery platforms empower anyone to quickly develop and deploy simple, focused, and intuitive apps that can be easily reused. These apps are easy to modify, mash up, and share, allowing innovation to flourish at the edges of the organization and spread inward.
- Remixability and reassembly. Nobody can predict what questions business users will have when they start exploring data-not even the users themselves. Business Discovery platforms make it easy for business users to remix and reassemble data in new views and create new visualizations for deeper understanding. Users can generate insights like never before.
- A social and collaborative environment. Often the real value of a discovery is unlocked when a minor breakthrough in one part of the company leads to a major one elsewhere. Business Discovery enables users to share and collaborate on insight and analysis. It's about creating a community of users who engage in wiki-like decision-making to drive knowledge that can cascade across an organization.
When BI software came on the scene 20 years, it brought a promise of enabling better business decisions by making sense of raw data. Due to technology limitations, traditional BI hit a plateau as an information delivery platform, rather than blossoming into a decision-making, insight-generating powerhouse. Business Discovery changes that. It's the next generation of BI, enabling users to forge new paths and make new discoveries. For more info, please download the white paper "Business Discovery: Powerful, User-Driven BI." (Updated July 8, 2011 with new title and link to updated white paper.)