Advice for Overcoming Traditional BI Solutions’ Shortcomings

Complex systems required heavy IT support, not the ease and simplicity that all users need.


In general, traditional business intelligence (BI) solutions have fallen short of businesses’ expectations. When business leaders decided to deploy BI solutions, they expected them to provide insights to business leaders, sales and marketing, and support teams so that they could make smarter decisions, operate more competitively, and increase market share. But as Charles Caldwell, VP, Product Management at Logi Analytics, points out, “Complex, enterprise BI systems that require heavy lifting from IT generally don’t fare well in delivering agility for the business.”

So, what are businesses looking for from BI solutions? Caldwell shares his insights on what your clients and prospects want from business intelligence platforms, where the greatest opportunities for solutions providers are, and how embedding analytics into your solutions can benefit your business.

What are CTOs looking for in a BI solution that will deliver ROI?

Caldwell: For general BI systems, it is often difficult to identify the return.  Generalized reporting and dashboards are hard to correlate to business outcomes, and it is very common for the majority of “reports” to go completely unused. Smart CTOs are looking for specific business problems that they can solve, which have a clear return in the form of increased revenues, significantly lower costs, or mitigation of significant business risks and then mapping required capabilities, including analytics, onto those solutions.

Which verticals are ready for BI solution upgrades?

Caldwell: Anywhere you find human beings making critical operational decisions, you typically find a lot of opportunity. Healthcare has long been at the top of this list for me. The doctors, nurses, PAs, everyone at the point of care are generally working with information systems that are not optimized for delivering critical insights. EMRs make record-keeping more efficient but still do little to generate meaningful insights to help guide care in the moment.

Which job descriptions or teams are ready for easy-to-use BI?

Caldwell: Anyone being asked to make business decisions can benefit, particularly those who are already doing their work in the context of an application. We’ve seen customer support and the call center function rapidly evolve through applications that deliver the agent meaningful insights that add value to the interaction. The decisions being made by those agents have a significant impact on customer loyalty. Anywhere you have employees who directly engage the customer or exercise discretion in their work, meaningful insights can help them be more effective.

What are the benefits for software developers to embed an analytics app in their solutions?

Caldwell: Applications have historically focused heavily on data collection and facilitating transactions. Today, end-users demand applications that not only move their data around but also generate insights from their data that help them take more effective actions. Embedding analytics enables application teams to create new value streams, reach new personas with their products, and solve much more valuable problems for their customers.

What advice can you offer software developers about enhancing their products with analytics?

Caldwell: Follow good agile development and design thinking practices. In understanding how analytics might benefit a specific persona, in addition to understanding their goals and capabilities, I ask, “If I could give them an insight that would help them do something different  or better than normal, what is it?” Come up with ideas around answering that question, prototype solutions, get customer feedback and iterate. And as you get adoption, don’t try to build all of this on your own. Analytics is both broad and deep in terms of features and capabilities.

Jay McCall

Jay McCall is an editor and journalist with 20 years of writing experience for B2B IT solution providers. Jay is co-founder of XaaS Journal and DevPro Journal.

Jay McCall

Jay McCall is an editor and journalist with 20 years of writing experience for B2B IT solution providers. Jay is co-founder of XaaS Journal and DevPro Journal.