2013 was a fantastic year of growth, learning, and opportunity. I spent most of my year writing and evangelizing the value of location analytics and will continue to do so this year in 2014. This year I deepen my focus and dive into the indoor analytics space. I will periodically share my experiences here, on my blog but also working my writing into new sites.

2014 is going to be very interesting as many of you who are BI practitioners have started diversifying your skill sets. We are seeing industry trends and consumer habits impact enterprise software at a rate we have never seen before. It is a very exciting time to be involved in enterprise software, and I look forward to hearing your ideas and successes in 2014!

Industry Trends: My two cents based on 2013 customer and partner discussions.


DEVICES: More enterprises are “mobile ready” going into 2014.

Most enterprises are still starting out of the gates executing on a mobile analytics strategy.  With the barrier to create and implement apps lowering each year, there won’t be any shortage of mobile projects coming up over the next 18 months. From custom HTML5 apps to end to end mobile platforms, there mobility will explode in 2014!

INFRASTRUCTURE: Cloud is still forming

Some of the largest enterprise customers we work with have no plans to move critical data into the cloud. On the flip side, I talk to other organizations that use private cloud solutions for rapid deployment of new analytics initiatives. I am a huge advocate for cloud technology because it dramatically simplifies integration and application development.

The security implications of cloud are real, as public cloud service providers and now big box retailers are exposed publicly every day with critical customer data. Organizations that don’t take security as top priority will risk losing credibility and customers.

BIG DATA: Big Data is a real problem and opportunity, but not for everyone…yet

Every enterprise faces the same challenge to process and extract meaningful, actionable, information. Hadoop and In-Memory database technology like HANA, open the doors to process massive volumes of structured and un-structured data for analytics. However, these technologies are not the magic bullet to solve the world’s big data problems. The success factor for tackling Big data is having the right people and skills in place, to get the right information to the right people. Sound familiar?

I still witness on a regular basis organizations who still struggle with “Small Data”, in existing data warehouse / BI projects. I truly believe the gap is knowledge and experience more than technology. The industry players and system integrators who master this transfer of knowledge and simplify the “data scientist” role new users, yet offer advanced statistical analysis tools for the real data scientists of the world. One vendor I have been looking at recently who makes this process simple is Alteryx. There are many BI innovation factories churning out great stuff so I can’t wait to see what’s next!

Everyone with a smartphone is a data generating beacon, and anything that can be assigned an IP address, will be. The challenges and opportunities for solving big data problems are endless. I know, with my transitioning focus to indoor analytics the volume and velocity of data is massive which is why I am focusing more of my attention to this area in 2014.

Micro-Trends Related to this Blog

Onto the traditional dashboards / SAP Analytics ecosystem that we all know and love:

1. Customers who use SAP Dashboards without BusinessObjects have been left in the cold.

Crystal Reports and SAP Dashboards as an entry level BI suite is showing its age. Lumira still needs to continue forward at the same rate of progress to re-gain attention of customers who are looking for the doors.

There is still nothing like SAP Dashboards for compiling dashboards against Excel and web services. Some of the most amazing enterprise Apps I have ever seen have come from the talented dashboard designers. The smart ones are now using multiple platforms for design. For customers with BusienssObjects, there is plenty of milage left in the SAP Dashboards tank. I still see new initiatives and customer success every week that blows me away.

2. More market disruption for SAP BusinessObjects

Every customer I talk to has a Tableau initiative somewhere in their organization. I firmly believe that tools like Tableau and Qlicktech of the world will replace tools like Crystal Reports for interactive / web based analytics.  Lumira is certainly playing catch up at a fairly rapid pace. With so many conflicting use cases, markets, and gaps to be filled, it will be interesting to see if Lumira falls into the same pit that Xcelsius did as it gained adoption in the SAP ecosystem.

The “right tool for the job” BI approach was a value proposition turned competitive disadvantage. As customer demands evolved and technology platforms age when I look at the existing ecosystem of large business intelligence vendors, most have a suite of tools that have amazing capabilities, but no single tool that is amazing.

One of the most exciting innovations I saw last year that I will follow closely in 2014 is DecisionPoint. It approaches BI Apps in a way that SAP BusinessObjects customers have asked for years.

HTML5-  Is 2014 is here already?

I have written several articles over the last 3 years about the readiness of HTML5. In the enterprise, we still have a host of major fragmentation issues to iron out, but the power, performance, and speed of HTML5 / Javascript is finally where it needs to be. I know from our personal experiences moving our powerful Flash geo platform to HTML5 with CMaps Analytics, that we are seeing performance and data processing levels that are outstanding. Now we just need everyone to dump IE7 & IE8!

What to expect from my blog in 2014

Early this year, I will begin an upgrade and re-design which will allow me to focus less on specific tips and tricks for one technology and broaden my focus to my original vision for the blog. Interactive Data Visualization!. This way I can quickly share cool articles, concepts, and provide a different personalized perspective on things I see from customers and the marketplace. This is my personal blog so as always you get my personal opinions which may be right or wrong, but certainly educated.

As always thanks for stopping by and reading!

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