Bienvenidos a la Comunidad ZAP y su nuevo Blog de Business Intelligence

By Keyan Keihani
October 27, 2014

The concept of “business intelligence” – or synonymously “business analytics” – is one of rising popularity amongst organizations seeking to scale their reporting and operational insights. Sadly, while more vendors appear in the marketplace, BI projects of all types are continuously plagued by non-fulfillment, poor user adoption and complete negligence.

How many times have you personally seen these fail due to high levels of risk and/or long development cycles?

The idea of BI adoption seems great, but somehow comes undone at the seams. The prevailing problem in our industry has manifested itself into a paradox of sorts. Businesses eagerly seek to deliver critical information in the hands of their users without making the sound technological and organizational decisions that would enable them to do so comprehensively.

It’s Complicated (And Maybe OUR Fault)

The fact of the matter is that business intelligence, despite enjoying the catchphrase and bandwagon status, is not truly pervasive and its adoption is not in line with the investment made by most firms. As an industry of BI professionals, we know this much is true. We simply can’t deny the fundamental lack of understanding which permeates through our organizations with regards to expectations, capabilities and roads to success with BI.

Some get it, others don’t – period.

It’s a complex problem, especially when so many different solutions (SAP, Oracle, Microsoft Dynamics, Salesforce, etc, etc.) claim to be the «best» in transforming raw data into powerful, meaningful business analytics. In the universe of disproportionately valuing performance and analytical horsepower above all else, what do we truly lose? If we’re disconnected from the end-users and not amenable to their everyday interests, then BI adoption will flounder.

800 horsepower under the hood means nothing unless there’s a steering wheel. In the same vein, business intelligence is nothing unless we return to fundamentals and continuously provide business context to further enhance usability.

As such, from the outside in, business intelligence (although alluring) can look like an unintelligible beast. Observers know it’s important, but diving in can become pretty scary for them.

From The Outside Looking In

We can decidedly attribute many of these shortcomings to education and messaging. As vendors, BI analysts, engineers, marketing professionals, data architects and CIOs, we’re guilty of speaking a closed, opaque language that doesn’t always translate well to the outside observer. The end-user running a manufacturing operation in the Midwest or a retail supply chain in the UK needs to know about their costs, inventory and delivery. The communal language needs to be practical, palatable and methodical.

We need to connect to them on the basis of the ease and benefits of reporting as well as their distilled business outcomes, not dense and convoluted ideas like predictive analytics, text mining, benchmarking, denormalization and statistical interference.

Yes, those concepts might be embedded in the solutions, but why do we keep seeing these highlighted on blogs and product descriptions by vendors in the industry? Do our end-users genuinely appreciate what we’re talking about here? Business intelligence theorists may be offended by this, but we need to stop ONLY selling the features of our solutions and speaking the unapproachable language of the enterprise. We need to be cognizant of the culture we’re perpetuating.

Let’s make it more accessible for the massive swath of potential BI users, and emphasize aspects of THEIR business performance, not ours.

So What’s ZAP Doing?

Accessibility is what ZAP’s Community is all about. We are extremely pleased to announce our publication of content geared towards the BI user, specifically within our rich Microsoft Dynamics ecosystem. In the months ahead, we’ll be releasing blog articles, case studies, tips and tricks, infographics, whitepapers and Q&As aimed at cultivating a heightened sense of understanding, which, in turn, seeks to promote higher BI adoption and fewer barriers to entry. The content will be coming from a sales and marketing perspective, a training perspective and a product development perspective.

All of it will be organic, homegrown and practical. The main goal will be addressing the very real, palpable and legitimate pain points in the industries we have the pleasure of continuously servicing.

As we proceed, we encourage everyone to interact with the content in a way that allows us to make it better for you as the reader. Commenting with your thoughts and subject matter expertise gives us inspiration for new topics, livelier discussions and more tailored content in general.

Looking forward to doing our part in making the learning of business intelligence a bit less cumbersome.

Keyan Keihani

Keyan Keihani is the SEO & Content Marketing Manager at ZAP where he handles the content production and on-site optimization efforts. He enjoys reading about the state of the BI industry and marveling at BI’s transformative powers within organizations. When he’s not doing keyword research, he enjoys playing guitar, rooting for the Oklahoma City Thunder, watching Frasier and being a self-proclaimed “cat person.”