Accenture’s Tech Vision 2014 and Business Intelligence

Today, Accenture held a presentation for alumni (I worked for Andersen Consulting in the late 1990s) to present its Tech Vision 2014. The subtitle for their report is “Every Business is a Digital Business.” That mean the focus should be on what business wants from technology, the business drivers pushing technology forward. As with most, very smart technologists, the Accenture team’s focus was a key shift and was what technology can do for business. It was focused on technology, backed up by a few business examples.

So how does Business Intelligence stack up in Accenture’s eyes? The answer was simple: It was hidden and scattered across the trends. It’s clear that the categories were created by some very smart technology people and that business took second place.

Of the six trends, the obvious place to discuss BI was in the third, “Data Supply Chain.” Yet the presenter focused that segment on grabbing data and API management, the technical portions, and mentioned analytics in a few seconds towards the end.

On their mini-site (link above), there was an additional presentation by CTO Paul Dougherty. One key phrase caught my ears: “Enterprise and unstructured data.” That’s a technologist’s view of enterprise, not a business manager’s view. He views “enterprise data” as only that data which comes from “enterprise software” such as ERP, CRM and SFA. That’s not a distinction business management makes and not one that should be spoken to the business audience.

BI was also briefly mentioned in the Business of Applications trend, in the mobile section but, again, only briefly. The final trend, Architecting for Resilience also mentioned key items critical to business intelligence, those of performance and cyber security. Sadly, no mention of how important those were for reactiveness to the business environment and protection of intellectual property and business critical information.

It was a very good presentation from the technical side, if they consider their audience to be only IT people and ISV’s working on point solutions. However, if they expect to interest business decision makers they have to focus less on how cool technology might help some parts of business and more on what are the business needs driving technological decisions.

Analysts understanding trends in large data volumes is important to business. I contend that how management views those trends, makes decisions and evaluates changes is even more important. A key trend for any company should be how business management better understands the challenges facing business and whether or not they’re addressing those challenges. That’s the heart of BI.



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