The following is a Q&A originally published by CAMSS in LinkedIn on July 28, 2016:

In preparation for the 2016 CAMSS Canada conference, we caught up with Jim Broadley, Country Manager at Birst – sponsor of the event – to discuss his views on how BI & Analytics is transforming the shape of organizations across the country.

Jim Broadley Portrait Photo1. As an individual with over 25 years of experience working in the industry, what do you believe to be the main force driving change in Business Intelligence (BI) and Analytics? How does that compare to previous years?

I would have to say there are two major shifts in the BI and Analytics space over the past five years.

1) The evolution of Big Data and the need to federate the analysis and reporting over multiple source systems
2) The need for Agility and self-service for the business to consume the information without significant IT resources.

2. As a global leader Business Intelligence (BI) and Analytics, how is Birst enabling these changes?

Birst has designed and delivered a Next-Generation platform that accelerates the time to value for organizations to consume data from many areas of the business and leverage their previous investments.

The creation of a User Data tier allows the development of an enterprise semantic layer that can federate queries across the many different sources systems in the enterprise data tier. Birst has also developed a back end system with something we call ADR (Automated Data Refinement). This creates an analytic ready data store and the semantic layer that the business users and leverage to build their reports and dashboards. Significant time savings and automation comes with the platform and end users as well as IT are the beneficiaries.

3. What is it that people these days are looking for from BI given the major advancements and increased adoption of the technology?

I would have to say Agility and Flexibility. They need something that allows them to deliver self-service reporting and analytics to the business but it still needs the governance that IT can trust the data.

It also needs to be flexible enough to handle multiple types of analytics and multiple data sources, (EDW, Hadoop, Operational data sources, Excel, Cloud Apps and Social Media Apps) to name a few.

4. How does this then fit in to the bigger IT picture?

The Birst platform is incredibly adaptable into organizations architectures because it doesn’t force you down a specific path or put limitations on how you want to structure your Enterprise Data Tier.

It also provides complete flexibility for the business users to continue to use their tool of choice, whether that be Tableau, Excel or predictive analytics like R. Birst also embraces both Cloud and Mobile as two key pillars of our architecture which future-proofs the investment.

5. What is unique about the challenges facing Canada when it comes to adoption and innovation of BI and other advanced technologies?

I am seeing the Canadian clients looking for something new in the area of BI and Analytics. The past architectures and solutions aren’t delivering on the promises and investments in technology have been met with mixed reviews from the business. There is high interest in how BI and Analytics can be moved to the Cloud and the question is more “when” than “if”. Canadian organizations are being asked to do more with less resources and less budgets. That can’t happen with the traditional platforms that they have invested in so Next Gen BI and Analytics is key to their success in 2017 and beyond.


Birst will be participating as a sponsor at CAMSS Canada 2016 (September 26-27 in Toronto), the highest quality, most valuable environment for both IT and Line of Business executives from across the country focused on enhancing business strategies, culture and capabilities around Cloud, Analytics, Mobile, Security and Social technologies.