When did B.I. get so fun?
B.I. is some boring stuff.. For those of you who don’t know, B.I. is short for Business Intelligence. Still not helping? Business Intelligence is the fancy word for charts, graphs and reports. See, I told you, boring stuff.
I am sure you have been in a meeting or presentation at some point where somebody threw up a bunch of charts in your face. A static representation of some data; sales trends, inventory levels, profitability by product line, etc. Don’t get me wrong, looking at a bar chart is a lot easier to digest than looking at a spreadsheet full of numbers, but still… pretty boring stuff. Still, B.I. is important. Big companies make course changing decisions based on it. Small companies on the other hand usually have to use other methods for determining where things are at, often referred to as “gut feeling”. Until recently, B.I. has not been practical for SMBs to take advantage of, other than a few basic reports, usually represented as some kind of spreadsheet. If you had asked me a week ago if I thought B.I. was important, I would have said “Hell Yes”; if you asked me if I thought it was fun, I would have said “Hell No”. But that was a week ago.
One of the things cloud is making possible is bringing “Enterprise Grade” technology to the masses. Take SharePoint for example. This too has been the domain of large corporations. I mean you had to spend thousands of dollars on hardware and software and months of setting up, just to begin trying to generate some value. But with the cloud, Microsoft takes care of all of that other stuff, and places you at the 5 yard line. You get to start generating value almost immediately, without the usual upfront investment.
I just returned from Microsoft’s Worldwide Partner Conference in Houston. This is where we partners get a look at what is coming, and what is going. There were a lot of things that had me excited, but none more than the Power B.I. feature that is coming to Office 365. Yes, I said it, the most exciting thing I saw was a Business Intelligence application. The presenter probably helped. A cloud application, Power B.I. will have the same, “Bring you to the 5 yard line” benefit of all the other cloud applications.
I pulled the video of the actual presentation I saw and have it for you below. Watch this and tell me you still think B.I. is boring.