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BI solutions market prospects in Russia

Evgeny Kuryshev | 02.10.2020

Business Intelligence (BI) is a very controversial field of activity, where ideas about tasks and ways of solving them are very diverse. Someone thinks that business analysts are primarily economists, financiers and managers. And someone focuses on the technical component, rightly noting that business analysis is inextricably linked both with IT in general, and with Big Data, Data Lake and IoT in particular.

In fact, both are right. Most of the representatives of the BI direction are rather cross-functional specialists. And if until recently they were required by default to have deep competencies in certain IT segments, today working with BI tools is simplified and even such classes of employees as citizen data scientist appear. Moreover, against the background of the current situation in the world, it becomes clear how important this activity is.

To understand the trends and prospects of the BI solutions market, we talked with its leading representatives in Russia – software developers, system integrators and employees of their consulting departments.

Market trends

Yulia KUDRYAVTSEVA (Foresight): “We are in for the era of streaming analytics, which will determine the level of development of analytical tools.”

Yulia KUDRYAVTSEVA, Strategic Development Director of Foresight, notes that not so long ago, many enterprises believed that it was enough to automate a number of key processes to improve efficiency, but today the approach has changed. Customers clearly understand that their goal is to ensure the digital transformation of all business processes based on platform solutions. The requirements for the functional capabilities of analytical systems will develop precisely taking into account digitalization processes, Ms. Kudryavtseva is sure, and enterprises that have embarked on the path of digital transformation will need tools for streaming analytics and voice control. In addition, there will be a tendency to simplify the business analysis systems themselves, which will expand the number of users of BI solutions and make it easier to analyze the data obtained.

The development of streaming analytics will be driven by the proliferation of 5G technologies, and we will see wider adoption of the “Internet of Things”. As a result, these processes will require new capabilities from analytical systems, therefore, tools for processing streaming data in real time will be actively developed and implemented, says Yulia Kudryavtseva. The democratization of business analysis systems has been talked about for a long time, but serious steps in this direction await us in the near future. The proliferation of BI systems is associated with an increase in the number of business users, and solution creators are working to develop self-service BI capabilities: tools for processing, loading and analyzing data are simplified, including for such complex tasks as modeling and forecasting.

“Today, we, as developers of business intelligence solutions, are faced with customer interest in voice control capabilities. In the next couple of years, this trend will gain momentum, ”said Ms. Kudryavtseva. To speed up and simplify the analysis processes, customers will use voice queries to BI systems – this is a new stage in the “democratization” of analytics, when the result is provided as quickly as possible, which increases the efficiency of business processes of the enterprise.

Among other things, the demand for big data tools is increasing. Ms. Kudryavtseva emphasizes that this is not just about pilot projects: today enterprises are developing strategies for working with Big Data based on current and projected business tasks, taking into account the development of technological infrastructure, therefore, within several years we will witness the introduction of large-scale systems for analyzing large data. All of the above trends require new levels of power and flexibility from business intelligence systems, and therefore corporate platforms will face major architectural changes, especially in the context of their adaptability and compatibility with other solutions / technologies.

Another important trend is the development of mobile analytics. According to Ms. Kudryavtseva, the number of corporate mobile applications will grow, the range of functions available in them and the power of software will expand. In addition, in the foreseeable future, BI applications on a smartphone will be used by analysts and managers of all levels.

Svetlana VRONSKAYA (KORUS Consulting Group of Companies): “The main trend of the industry is self-service BI, that is, independent work of users to set up and create reports and dashboards”.

Svetlana VRONSKAYA, Marketing Manager of the Analytical Solutions Department of KORUS Consulting Group, believes that the role of IT in the implementation and support of BI is minimized – a business analyst moves to the position of a data scientist or disappears, as business users will do everything themselves. The second trend – augmented analytics (augmented analytics) – becomes a consequence of the first one: all modern BI systems will be supplemented with functions of artificial intelligence, in particular machine learning, which the self-service BI mentioned will help to implement (for example, suggest to users which take data, how to arrange them and what conclusions to draw on their basis).

Another global trend, Ms. Vronskaya calls the integration of BI with the Internet of Things (IoT, “Internet of Things”). Transmitting data from sensors using such systems is an extremely urgent task, since in many cases (for example, in complex production or in mining) it is not always possible to transfer data for processing to a centralized hub, and from there to BI, in such a in case they have to be loaded directly into the system on the spot and processed there. “Therefore, vendors will integrate functions into their products for receiving and processing data from IoT devices and systems,” concludes Ms. Vronskaya.

Anton SPIRIN (Technoserv Consulting): “A significant trend is the use of mobile BI solutions available using BYOD technologies that allow working with corporate data on a personal mobile device while maintaining the corporate level of security.”

Anton SPIRIN, Commercial Director of Technoserv Consulting, highlights the development of predictive analysis and building end-to-end analytics among the significant trends in the BI solutions market, both at the company level and at the level of individual departments and personalized dashboards for employees. These dashboards will be customizable by the business users themselves. This trend is not new, but BI technologies in this area are constantly being improved and today they have reached a significant breakthrough both in terms of basic capabilities that modern BI platforms provide, and in terms of the ease of setting up highly specialized ad-hoc reports, or the so-called self- service analysts. “The important point is that users can interpret the results in real time and, if necessary, adjust BI reports on the fly to clarify a particular hypothesis,” explains Mr. Spirin.

Andrey PIVOVAROV (Oracle): “BI-systems are increasingly used not only as an analytic tool, but also as part of business processes, when they are used for automated data processing and analysis, and necessary actions are initiated in other systems”.

Andrey PIVOVAROV, head of the advanced technologies group for pre-project consulting at Oracle in Russia and the CIS, believes that the business analytics industry is currently going through a transitional stage from the era of self-service to the era of augmented analytics, in which machine learning and artificial intelligence provide ample opportunities for accessing data and extracting from them with valuable information. Recently, an increasing number of specialists need to independently conduct data research, and, unlike in previous years, there are a lot of non-IT specialists among them. Thus, the functionality of BI systems will continue to evolve towards simplifying the creation of reports and visualizations using self-service tools. In addition, thanks to new technologies, modern BI tools make it much easier to build predictive models and use other algorithms than before. In turn, the tools themselves are becoming more “intelligent” – this is reflected in the emergence of the so-called augmented analytics. “As a result, the functionality of BI tools is expanding: today they can independently find hidden patterns, give recommendations on how best to visualize data, and provide other clues,” says Mr. Pivovarov.

Sergey KULIKOVSKY (Polimatika): “Speaking about Russia, one cannot fail to note the impact of import substitution and the growing level of digitalization in the public sector. The successful experience of implementing analytical systems at the Federal Tax Service has become a definite benchmark for other federal executive authorities. “

Sergey KULIKOVSKY, General Director of Polimatika, is sure that an interesting situation is developing on the BI systems market in our country. A few years ago, there was a feeling that the saturation stage had been reached: everyone who wanted to have already acquired dashboards and the sales volume began to decline. However, a new round of digitalization and, as a result, the growing volumes of data that need to be processed on-line, have become the reason for the resumption of active demand. Mr. Kulikovsky emphasizes that, as before, the ideas of self-service and citizen data scientists are relevant – business users for whom data analysis is part of their daily workflow and they cope with it without the involvement of professional analysts or the IT department. “This simplification is made possible by the fact that the technical work is done by the analytical platform, offering a large number of algorithms and visualization tools available at the click of a mouse under the hood,” he says.

Andrey SMERECHUK (OCS Distribution): “Thanks to the widespread implementation of BI tools for working with corporate reporting and visualization of analytics, a fairly wide range of employees have the opportunity to generate reports in real time.”

Andrey SMERECHUK, Head of Business Intelligence at OCS Distribution, focuses on automating the process of receiving analytics and reporting in real time. Equally important is the ability to independently work on the reporting of each employee, he believes: “On the one hand, this requires a high-quality approach to data management, which significantly increases the complexity of implementation, especially for organizations with a long history and a large heredity of already formed systems and data sets. On the other hand, it allows you to make a qualitative transition to a new level of ownership of the situation both outside and inside the company. ” Ultimately, employees at all levels get access to the necessary analytics in real time, which enables the company to react as quickly as possible to changes and make informed decisions, emphasizes Mr. Smerechuk.

(To be continued)

Business Intelligence (BI)

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