According to Daan van Beek, a short definition of BI is ‘Improve and innovate with data.’
Other finalists of the BI-awards are Tempo-Team and Rituals. They are considered contenders of being an intelligent organization, because they organized their core processes in a data-driven way. Some chains need 3 to 4 months to determine where they need to open a new store; Rituals determines this in less time, which has an enormous impact on their agility and efficiency.
Daan van Beek: “I dare to say that if BI doesn’t lead to change, it is a total failure.”
Two important factors
Certain factors play a role when it comes to gaining success from working with Business Intelligence; the environment, the complexity of the organization (which usually goes hand in hand with the size of the organization), and the amount of data an organization is able to generate (internally and externally).
Turn your data into dollars
Quoted from the book: “Business Intelligence is by no means a miracle cure.” A question of the interview asked for an explanation of this sentence. Mr. van Beek explains that a lot of BI-companies market BI as: ‘Turn your data into dollars.’ He says that in essence, this is the case, because with the analysis of data, problems of the company do get ‘cured’ most of the time. But especially in the beginning period of the implementation of Business Intelligence, it can occur that there are even more problems revealed. That’s why companies shouldn’t make the mistake to think it is a miracle cure.
Business Intelligence versus Business Analytics
The Passionned Group analyzed 70,000 tweets worldwide, to find out which term was used more often: analytics or intelligence. From around 18 BI suppliers, 70 to 80% spoke about Business Intelligence. And companies like SAS & IBM, talked about business analytics in 70 to 80% of the cases.
The main difference between Business Intelligence and Business Analytics is that Business Analytics is a more advanced version of BI. Daan van Beek sees the term ‘BI’ as an umbrella term, to describe all the facets like predictive analytics, data discovery, etc. Therefore, companies like SAS and IBM focus more on one specific aspect. You would expect that with analytics, the big differences of a company are realized. However, in the nine years that Passionned organized the BI Awards, there were almost no clients of SAS running for the title to be the most intelligent organization of the year.
Dutch BI Award
Some of the participants are approached to participate by the jury or Passionned, but others just sign up through the website. In 2012, the winner of this award was the company ‘CoolBlue’ and a few years before ‘Albert Heijn’ won. These well-known names of winners make that the award becomes more and more popular.
In 2013 the winner of the Dutch BI Award was the ‘Fire department Amsterdam Amstelland’. One guy, who was a big fan of data and had just graduated from the study mathematics, started working at the fire department in Amsterdam. He had an idea to analyze the data, to figure out how it would be possible to have fewer fires. He analyzed all the data, connected it to each other, and built a model to understand in which place, what kind of fires occurred. From this data, a result was that there were many fires because of ‘fire in the pan’ while cooking, and demographically this mainly happened in areas where people like to ‘wok’ (just one example). And they didn’t do it in the exact right manner. This resulted in, instead of extinguishing the fires; part of the fire brigade has gone onto the streets with iPads, that were considered ‘risky’ for these kinds of fires, to provide information on how to wok properly.
This is a good example of a traditional organization that changed their business model, to become a more innovative organization.
Risks of BI
When a company decides to implement BI, the role of the manager will change drastically. The experience of Mr. van Beek is that managers that are not data driven don’t have a role as a manager anymore after five years. Apart from many success stories, as mentioned before; 70% of the BI implementations fail.
90% of the BI companies only focus on software and modelling the data warehouse perfectly. This results in too much focus on technology, and lacking the changes on the business side. These companies make it very easy to analyze the data, but in the end the user has to do something with the data. And therefore it is important that this user possesses the right skills. Moreover, the collaboration within the organization and the amount of feedback that is given to each other, are crucial. According to Daan van Beek, this is a field in which the Passionned Group distinguishes itself from other companies. Other distinguishing strengths the company has include the research, content marketing, books and education, the advising and lastly the implementation, that is for the biggest part not comparable to competitors.
Daan van Beek distinguishes two streams of clients; one that thinks BI is only about technology and one that really knows what BI entails, namely people that see it is about the organization itself.
There are not many competitors on the market for Passionned. The ones that can be considered competitors can be small businesses that Mr. van Beek didn’t even hear of before. And occasionally it is a company like Capgemini or Incentro.
It is difficult to say if Blue-Mountain is a competitor; Daan van Beek acknowledges that Blue-Mountain also focuses on the people in the organization, instead of only the technology. What he considers a possible pitfall of B-M, is that he thinks it is almost impossible to get to the top level of both aspects; the technical aspect and the organizational aspect. Passionned remedies this by only focusing on the organizational aspect, and hire people for the technical aspect, when that is necessary.
The other difference between Passionned and Blue-Mountain is that Blue-Mountain has a real clear focus on the housing association market, and Passionned does not have such a clear target market. However, they also have occasionally a housing association as their client, therefore they could still be considered competition.
Everyone wants to get his share
Although for Passionned the competition is rather low, the BI market is increasing and there are more and more IT companies that all of sudden also focus on BI. Everyone wants to get his or her share out of this ‘booming business’.
The Passionned Group did research to find out which sectors are still behind when it comes to BI. The outcome of that research was that there is not one sector that is clearly behind. There are just a few companies in each sector that are ahead of other companies. And as Mr. van Beek mentions: “It is not proven that a business cannot be successful without BI.”