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April 18, 2016

Collect it, store it, crunch it, display it..

by Colin Quinn

Collect it, store it, crunch it, display it…

Big Data and Business Intelligence Dashboards have recently seemed more like a game of candy crush rather than a display that businesses use everyday. This past year, big data finally hit its stride, creating a rift between companies who store it on the shelf and those who use it to innovate their business.

"Shelving" that data for “someday” use or turning it into colorful pie charts isn’t going to cut it. Just as Facebook's news feed shows "important" articles in your network so you don’t have to visit individual pages, users now realize they want the same functionality from their data. Today's data-driven companies find the unique data they need to answer their specific questions, and integrate insights into their business.

Time to re-think what data is all about

From IBM’s recent purchase of the Weather Company’s data to Shark Tank's Marc Cuban’s investment into real-time sports data provider Sportradar, corporations and venture capitalists alike are placing big bets on tools that make data actionable.

Those tools will open new markets in everything from fantasy sports to natural disaster planning. AngelList reports more than 3,000 startups that are specializing in processing data in new and innovative ways, creating new markets, and fostering opportunities as they grow.


So what is a dashboard even good for?

Can a dashboard help you pry into a new market? Can it help your IT team address an urgent data problem?

At this point, it can't do either. The point of the dashboard is to simply display mission critical data in a visually pleasing way, that helps executive decision makers see the "big picture" and make decisions based on quantitative truths rather than qualitative assumptions.

2016 is when BI will get the "pie" chart in its face

The business intelligence market is projected to reach $20B in 2018, software providers and C-level executives continue to invest in dashboard technology because they hope for better insights into their business.. The dashboard providers that looked like masters of the universe in 2015 will become 2016’s value-add.

Lastly, if we can get past our dysfunctional attachment to the dashboard, the business intelligence industry will focus not on distracting end users with pretty pie charts, but delivering them the most actionable data they need right now — from anywhere.

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