At the recent Business Intelligence and Analytics Summit in London, Gartner analyst Dan Sommer employed a clever analogy to illustrate the divide he sees in today’s analytics landscape. He called it “Suits vs. Hoodies”.

The “Suits” represent traditional, centralized BI. This model is typically associated with legacy BI platforms that support centrally-governed enterprise deployments, but have been losing market share in recent years to more agile data discovery tools – the “Hoodies” – adopted by decentralized teams looking for greater speed, ease of use, and autonomy.

Frankly, it’s become a cliché anytime a software vendor proclaims that the technology industry is undergoing an unprecedented transformation. If you’ve ever worked in a Sales or Marketing function, odds are high you’ve used the word “revolutionary” once or twice (*guilty*). But anyone who follows the BI and Analytics space closely must admit that, at least in our industry, a real change is occurring.

This year’s Gartner Magic Quadrant for Business Intelligence and Analytics Platforms is now available. Birst is thrilled to be positioned as a ‘Challenger’ within the report for the second year in a row.

On February 18 at 9am PST/12pm EST, Birst is hosting an educational webinar that we think would help any organization that is looking to create a data-driven sales and marketing organization. Forrester Research analyst Laura Ramos will participate in the session, “Analytics to Revenue: The New Strategic Weapon for Business Growth,” to discuss the latest evolution in sales and marketing and will highlight how analytics is powering every stage of the customer lifecycle.

I recently had the opportunity to join leading industry analyst Eric Kavanagh on his twice monthly audio program, DM Radio, a long-running podcast on Information Management that is designed to foster conversation among today's thought leaders in data. Also participating on the show were Krish Krishnan of Sixth Sense Advisors and Dan Power of Hub Designs.

As somebody who’s lived through the evolution of the analytics space over the past two decades – from the days of decision support systems, through the era of business intelligence, and now the emergence of visual data discovery – it has been fascinating to witness the shift from the traditional IT-owned, centrally managed analytics model to the more decentralized, user-oriented style of delivering BI.

Business intelligence has been around for over thirty years, evolving from the Decision Support Systems of the 1960s. It undoubtedly can and has provided huge benefits for private and public sector organisations, but these kinds of projects have often been limited to large centralised teams that have had the technology skills, resources and the budgets to implement traditional BI. This has meant that smaller organisations or departments have either been left behind, or ignored, often leading to a great deal of frustration.

As the growing emergence of data analytics and multiplying channels transform marketing, there is an increasing opportunity to develop more creative, strategic and effective data-driven marketing strategies. But as new trends emerge, marketing teams will be challenged to decipher which ones they should chase and which ones they should watch with caution. For modern marketers looking to formulate forward-thinking strategies, here are the top five marketing trends you should keep tabs on over the coming months. 

Over the past few months Birst has been generating a lot of attention thanks to its partnership with SAP. The Birst integration with the SAP HANA platform is a brilliant use case showcasing our breakthrough 2-tier BI technology. This solution delivers instant analytics in the cloud and turns insight into action faster than ever. It is thrilling to see companies use Birst to tap into enterprise data sources and seamlessly unify them with user data sources, analyzing millions and millions of records in just a few seconds.

The notion of “big data” has revolutionized the way we view business management practices and solutions today. And while the concept is treated as a “new” discovery, big data has actually been around since the early 2000s. In fact, 10 years ago, Birst was one of very few BI vendors on the market trying to make a case for itself as a needed technological solution inside any sized organization. Today, there isn’t an organization that isn’t thinking about it.

It is a compelling proposition to have external forces working for your success without heavy investments on your side - particularly if you need to build a broad geographic or industry reach. However, if mismanaged, partners can drain on your resources, rather than being an asset to your long-term growth. Use these three tips to understand how analytics can help you build a successful and data-driven channel strategy.

For those of you that may not have seen this yet, the Chief Marketing Technologist Blog (penned by Scott Brinker) posted its annual marketing technology landscape super graphic for 2015. I was happy to see this graphic again this year because it was rumored that last year's iteration would be his last. This week, we were reminded (once again) about the growth of the technology industry and about the impressive technologies that exist throughout.

Working through the IT channel can provide companies with huge opportunities to scale their business quickly, particularly if they need to build a broad geographic or industry reach. However, if mismanaged, the relationship can be frustrating for all the partners involved.

Marketers have always been great storytellers. They are wired to ask: “Why will people care about this story?”

The chief data officer (CDO) is a new role that seems to be springing up across enterprise companies to oversee the processes, tools and governance around use of information. CDOs have been hired at organisations as diverse as the British Army, RBS, Aviva and Havas Media, while Deutsche Bank announced JP Rangaswami, ex-BT and SalesForce, as the bank’s first CDO this month.

Consider This:  Which would you rather have at your company?  The world’s greatest data scientist working alone in a corner lab . . .or data that will make all of the employees of your company one percent more productive? 

Retention Marketing has become one of the most strategic marketing initiatives in the past few years. After all, it is 81% less expensive to upsell to an existing customer than it is to acquire a new one. In addition, customer retention deepens the relationship between the vendors and their clients and creates larger customer life time value in return.

Financial firms are sitting on a gold mine of data, from traditional transactions and customer relationship management data to social media posts and voice call logs. The ability to quickly assimilate, analyze, and act on this data means the difference between gaining loyal customers and losing them to competitors.

Some twenty years ago, the classic example of diapers and beers became the legend that gave rise to a thriving industry: data warehousing and BI.

There is no denying it; data-driven marketing is in the middle of an extraordinary growth spurt. Data is becoming more strategic for marketing organizations every day. Birst unveiled its new Marketing Analytics Accelerator today aimed at delivering new value to marketers and their teams. If you are a marketer struggling to pull together information from various applications to create a complete picture of your customer’s journey, the Marketing Analytics Accelerator is a perfect fit for you.