Market analysis and Business Intelligence

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Business Intelligence, meet Market Intelligence – now play nice!

Corporate decision makers feed on data from a wide and growing variety of sources. More often than not the problem they face is not the lack of available data, but how readily that data can be accessed, understood and used.

This problem was recognized early on in the history of enterprise software and in the 1990s the field of business intelligence really took off as a way to help companies aggregate and make sense of the growing amount of data available to them. This was in the early days of the Internet, and largely before the Internet was recognized as a major force in the world, let alone a source of data and intelligence for serious business.

Therefore, BI took off as a tool that focused on data from internal systems, largely data from operational databases and other enterprise software systems. When properly implemented, a BI system give companies a really valuable insight into operational things ranging from the performance of the call-center to the results of the latest efforts to fight customer churn – in short, pretty much anything anything that falls under the “COO’s world”.

So that’s all good to understand what’s happening inside the organization. But what about the external business environment? The market conditions, competitive landscape and economies that the company is operating in? You can operate your company perfectly looking at the internal metrics, and still come crashing down in flames if you don’t navigate the market environment properly.

In other words: You don’t drive your car staring at the dashboard. If you don’t look out the windshield, you’re guaranteed to crash into something very soon (see the beginning of this video):

But, as history will have it, Business Intelligence systems still seem to see the Internet almost as an afterthought. You can easily hook them up to the various internal databases through ODBC connections, take in data from a variety of enterprise systems and so on, but if you want to hook them up to a simple online API – not so much.

This is slowly changing, but the bigger problem is that most of the good data out there on the internet, whether from Open Data sources, financial and economic databases or market research companies doesn’t even exist in APIs or other well-structured, machine-readable formats.

Therefore, BI has never made its way in any meaningful way to those that are looking at external data: The strategy teams, insights teams and tactical marketing teams, in short – “the CMO’s world”. (see also my previous blog post Data-driven decision making: Beyond today’s BI)

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Q&A

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What are some of the trends in the business intelligence market?

Some of the newer trends in the Business Intelligence Market are found at any business school degree colleges. There you will see the best new procedures that are being done in the workplace today such as social media.

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How big is the Business Intelligence market?

Currently estimated at 12 billion.