According to Gartner, more than 3,000 CIOs ranked Business Intelligence (BI) and Analytics as the top differentiating technology for their organizations. If BI and Analytics is such a game-changer, then why is the average adoption rate in organizations only 32%? Despite the efforts of Cloud BI vendors making it easier for users to acquire, explore, and analyze data sources without IT dependency, lack of data literacy and analytic skills still hinder widespread adoption for data-driven decision making. But the industry is undergoing a fundamental transformation. The mainstream arrival of Artificial Intelligence (AI) brings with it the potential to finally meet the demand for actionable, enterprise-wide, fact-based decision making.
Historically, business users have been presented with dashboards that describe the current state of a KPI, i.e. Net Profitability, Customer Retention, and more. What happens next is a treasure hunt in identifying the drivers of the KPI’s behavior. This takes time and specialized expertise, often involving advanced machine learning algorithms that only skilled data scientists understand.
With the emergence of AI-enabled BI, this laborious and impenetrable work can be performed by a machine, automatically finding significant relationships between the KPI and countless attributes that might influence its behavior, and automatically rendering visualizations and dashboards that enable the business user to take the best possible action.
Click here to download the latest research paper from the Eckerson Group on ‘AI is the New BI’.
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On Jan 31, Birst will introduce Smart Analytics powered by Coleman AI. Birst Smart Analytics offers a new set of AI-enabled capabilities that leverage machine learning algorithms to generate automated and personalized insights. Business users can tap into the power of data science and instantly understand not just what is happening in their business, but why. I spoke to Nicolas Rentz, Senior Product Manager at Birst, who gave us a preview of Birst Smart Analytics and what challenges it addresses to drive more BI and analytics adoption, resulting in better business performance.
1. Please give us some background on your career and how you arrived at Birst as a Product Manager?
I’ve spent most of my career in Business Intelligence, either as part of a technology organization developing BI tools or as an analyst using BI and analytics to make decisions. I’ve always been passionate about using cutting edge technology to solve business pain points, so I was very excited to join Birst to lead the development of Smart Analytics. Driven by Machine Learning, we aim to make Birst Smart Analytics usable by any business person to generate insights needed to understand what is impacting their business, without the assistance of an analyst or IT. It’s a game changer.
2. Why do you think AI is such an important topic right now in the BI and analytics industry?
Much of the focus today on AI is to automate decisions, but for BI, the goal is to “augment” or enhance decision making. AI does this in two ways: By making it easier to use and by identifying actionable insights for the non-technical user. As a result, more people in the organization will be adopting BI for data-driven decision making.
3. What business pain points does Birst Smart Analytics address?
Birst Smart Analytics is designed for the business user or front-line operational worker to uncover insights or drivers influencing a KPI instantly and automatically, without the effort traditionally required for this. Instead of depending on laborious tasks that require time and specialized expertise from analysts and data scientists, Birst Smart Analytics will automatically diagnose issues and recommend the right set of actions to optimize.
4. Tell us about the first feature being released, Smart Insights. How does it work?
Smart Insights will enable business users analyzing their KPIs on existing dashboards to better explain the behavior of their KPI of interest. It will automatically find which variables are significantly influencing the KPI and generate visualizations to enable the business user to explore these new insights. What’s exciting is that these insights are generated instantly and uncover factors that may have been previously unknown.
5. What do you think makes Birst’s approach to AI-enabled capabilities different than other solutions in the market?
We believe our solution is more personalized, trusted and impactful. First, Smart Insights is designed for business users, not data scientists, and the results are completely personalized to ensure the generated results are relevant to the user’s current context.
Second, Smart Insights leverages Birst’s networked BI architecture, which connects all governed data sets networked across the organization, so the system will uncover insights based on intelligence generated by the business. Users can also blend new data sources with our networked semantic layer and apply Smart Insights on the combined data to produce smarter, more scalable and more trusted insights.
Last but not least, the dashboards generated automatically by Smart Insights follow Birst’s Value Based Design methodology. This means that the insights generated are more impactful and actionable.
Mona Patel works in Birst’s Product Strategy team. With more than 20 years of experience building analytic solutions at The Department of Water and Power, Air Touch Communications, Oracle, MicroStrategy, EMC and IBM, Mona is now growing her career at Birst. Mona received her Bachelor of Science degree in Electrical Engineering from UCLA.