For some time now there has been much buzz around the idea of getting more data into the hands of "ordinary" business users. A slew of tools that help users with data preparation and data analysis tasks are entering the market.
This is the wrong approach, said Glen Rabie, co-founder and CEO of business intelligence provider Yellowfin.
Noting that BI has stubbornly low user adoption rates, Rabie said, "... Many BI vendors have tried to turn business users into data analysts, making them perform self-service data preparation and analysis tasks. At Yellowfin, we think that’s entirely the wrong approach. The industry has been trying to do this for more than 20 years and user adoption rates have remained stagnant at between 12 to 20 percent."
Yellowfin addresses the BI adoption issue differently in the latest version of its business intelligence platform, Yellowfin 7.2, providing a framework that gives business users a path and process to connect with business intelligence and data experts in their organization.
"This way, business users can work together with data experts to ensure the best business insights are delivered, allowing them to make better and faster decisions, while concentrating on their core job function," said Rabie in a statement.
The framework, called Business Analytics Workflow, includes a task management system that lets business users raise and assign tasks from anywhere inside the Yellowfin BI platform. Users can flag data quality issues, as well as request, track and review analytic content or analysis before publishing and sharing. Other features include Kanban-style discussion boards for brainstorming ideas, organizing responses to tasks and managing projects, and a Smart Tasks feature that automatically generates tasks from Yellowfin if data falls outside pre-defined thresholds.
David Norris, an associate analyst at Bloor Research, called the company's approach "very interesting," noting that "... As far as the business is concerned, data is IT's domain; the business is only generally interested in the insights and outcomes of data analysis."
In addition to the Business Analytics Workflow, the BI software update includes a framework that enables companies to build custom connectors for any third-party Web application. Additionally, Yellowfin 7.2 will ship with a range of out-of-the-box API connectors, including pre-built reports and dashboards, for popular applications such as Salesforce, Xero, Google Analytics, LinkedIn, Twitter and YouTube.
The release also includes new forecasting capabilities that allow users to set the parameters used to create a data analytics model, which enables faster and more accurate forecasting. Changes to trend analysis allow users to plot the relationship between two variables on a chart to instantly identify a trend. And users can now automatically plot an average value on a chart by simply selecting to show an average for a particular metric.
The most important aspect of the software update, Rabie said, is that it "enable[s] the entire data-driven decision-making process to take place in the BI platform - where it belongs."
According to the company, over 10,000 organizations and more than 1.5 million end-users across 70 different countries use Yellowfin.