At QlikTech, we’re in the throes of the Business Discovery Tour. We’re travelling the globe, talking about QlikView and Business Discovery to anyone who will listen . QlikView product advocate Donald Farmer has been ratcheting up the frequent flyer miles as he keynotes many of these events. We recorded Donald’s presentation at our event in Chicago in June. You can watch the video on YouTube.

In this presentation, Donald shared some of his perspectives about Business Discovery:

  • The term reflects who’s making buying decisions. The term “Business Discovery” is not just another marketing term. It reflects an important change in the BI software market. In the January, 2011 Gartner “Magic Quadrant for Business Intelligence Platforms,” the analysts wrote, “With ‘ease of use’ now surpassing ‘functionality’ for the first time as the dominant BI platform buying criterion in research conducted for this report, vocal, demanding and influential business users are increasingly driving BI purchasing decisions, most often choosing easier to use data discovery tools over traditional BI platforms — with or without IT's consent.” Donald remarked that this is a really important change not so much in the tools, or the way people use technology, but in the way they are buying. What we are seeing at QlikTech is that business users are buying QlikView to explore and solve business problems, not data problems. Thus the emergence of Business Discovery.
  • Business Discovery was born out of the consumerization of technology. An example Donald gave is the iPad. He remarked that 90% of iPads are purchased by individuals but 60% of them are used for business. What this means is that people are buying their own business technology. This is very different from the way it used to be. The consumerization trend is not just about devices, it’s also about software. Consumers have grown accustomed to getting answers to questions with a straightforward Internet search, collaboratively making decisions using social sites and tools (“People don’t trust data, they trust other people”), interacting with “focus, personal, and shared” apps, and taking their mobile devices everywhere they go.
  • Business Discovery marks the “end of the end user.” Donald expressed some serious dislike for the term “end user,” commenting that there are no end users any more. He said there used to be end users of BI tools because all people got were reports, analysis, charts, and printouts. But in modern BI, there are no end users. Today when people get BI reports they export the data to Excel so they can do something else—something more—with it. Traditional BI has become an expensive ETL (extract, transform, and load) technology for Microsoft Excel users. Business users want to go further, to do more. They are not at the end of a process.

A new class of consumer is bringing skills learned outside of work into the workplace. It’s not just young people; iPad usage is often driven by more senior members of the organization. The consumerization of technology has lead to a new behavior in business intelligence: Business Discovery. And QlikTech is, according to Gartner in the 2011 Magic Quadrant, the poster child for a new user-driven approach to BI. For more info, please download the QlikView White Paper, “Business Discovery: Powerful, User-Driven BI.”