Or… Thoughts on Launching a Revolutionary BI Product
We’ve launched a new product here at IQ for Business. We call it Halo. About two years ago we sat down and concluded that the time was (finally) right to start a revolution in Business Intelligence tools. What changed, you ask? Here’s a glimpse:
- Connectivity. 7 billion devices connected to the Internet, and growing
- Mobility. Widespread, inexpensive, and native to billions of young workers
- Storage. It’s cheap.
- Big Data. It’s here; who’s going to be first to harness it?
- Social. As in collaboration — embedded as a business practices.
It dawned on me and the team that BI was ready to graduate from a point solution for nerds (like me) to a comprehensive decision-support system for today’s knowledge-worker. BI c. 2010 was an often crude overlay (like a map or a chart) perched atop unwieldy data that had been tortured into submission. It was now time for something much better, much more useful.
The next question was determining what would matter when designing the next generation of BI. Not surprisingly, what matters is building a tool that exploits the macro trends mentioned above. And not surprisingly, all BI publishers will claim they’re doing precisely that.
But what matters most of all is empowering human intelligence. Humans are by far the toughest part of the problem. That said, the greatest untapped competitive advantage you will ever encounter is the knowledge locked inside your employees. We decided that Halo would be built to unlock that potential. Anything short of that, and we’d be rightly accused of putting lipstick on the pig from 2010.
What’s wrong with humans, anyway? A lot, one significant problem is we need to “communicate” with each other and “validate” our perception with others before we can make a decision. Another is our ever-shifting expectations. Yes, we’re fickle. Once upon a time we were satisfied with a phone that made phone calls. Sounds quaint, doesn’t it? Now we demand that our mobile devices be lightning-fast collaborative hubs; voice calls are a dull and forgotten feature.
If it’s so hard, why even bother tackling the “human problem”? Is the potential really that great?
Businesses are really just a collection of decisions. Consider for a moment how humans decide. They gather data, decide, observe, learn, adjust, and gain wisdom. What’s more, knowledge-workers are approaching 80% of the global workforce. Decisions drive a business. The more good decisions your business collectively make, the better your business runs. At 500 decisions per day per employee, millions of decisions are made per year that drives your business. A better decision-making tool would make a big difference. Knowledge-workers spend 30% of their time searching for data, and half of that time is wasted. That plus a bunch of other factors like interruptions from email, multitasking etc. result in 2.4 effective working hours per day.
Now imagine the compounding power of more knowledge-workers making better decisions with the additional effective hours created by better decision-support tools. And to top it off, these tools would encourage collaboration, which is a fancy term for sharing wisdom. In other words, collaboration fosters collective intelligence, which means better decisions, faster.
Yes, it’s taken some time to get here. But the market is ready, and so is Halo. Are you?