Delivering BI Success in 2016
Sitting here half way through January 2016, I’m reminded I haven’t reviewed 2015 and examined the 2016 landscape, 2015 has just rolled into 2016 and we’re busier than ever delivering BI Success.
So much happened in 2015! We ended the year 26% up in revenue terms but this doesn’t do justice to the progress we have made throughout 2015, defining our business strategy and focus for the future. We have further developed our BI Project Success offering where we can now truly provide Business Change Consultancy over and above our more usual BI application consultancy for which we are well known. Successful BI projects are not driven by technology alone, the users are key to success and this will more often than not involve changes to how a user goes about their daily job and the anxiety and challenges that may involve.
2015 saw us increase our team of consultants and we added strength and depth to our Sales and Marketing team. Triangle has invested heavily in Sales and Marketing over the past 2 years and 2015 was no different. Chris Griffiths joined as a Sales Executive and Charlie Fox joined us at the end of the year to tackle the important area of Digital Marketing.
In October 2015 we sent a Triangle team to Insight, the major IBM Analytics event held annually in Las Vegas. It was important in 2015 more than any time previously that we attended this event as we were aware of the major announcements that IBM were planning. Our team came back full of the latest news from IBM and we have been busily digesting and doing internal research to ensure that we are able to pass the knowledge to our customers.
Another major change in 2015 that affects our customers was IBM’s decision to place Data Manager into End of Life. There is no reason to panic as IBM has provided free licenses of DataStage which can be installed in parallel and IBM will continue to support DataManager for a couple of years to come under the Datastage name. Triangle has picked up the gauntlet and have several of our consultants trained in DataStage and we are currently running a project to convert one of our customer‘s applications from DataManager and onto DataStage. This is no mean feat as the application in question is IBM Performance Applications which Triangle have a long history with. Watch this space to find out what we have learned, including how good is the conversion utility provided by IBM.
As a leading IBM Analytics Business Partner in the UK we are determined to be prepared to help our customers move to the brave new world.
Where do we see Analytics going in 2016 and beyond?
Sweep aside the hype that the marketing people at IBM and other major software providers swamp us with and we can see an underlying trend to move more towards Software as a Service (SaaS) and cloud computing. How does this affect us right now and what is IBM providing?
From a BI perspective IBM released Cognos analytics version 11 in December 2015. This brings with it a completely new user experience, underpinned by the tried and tested technology we have all come to love which supported Cognos 8 and Cognos 10. Triangle consultants and support analysts are now actively working on what this means for our clients, so when they decide to make the move to v.11 we are ready to assist and advise them on the journey. As with all new releases we wouldn’t recommend you install the very first release but instead wait for the first fix pack or two to be released. Those of you that are using Analysis Studio and Query Studio will no longer be able to use these studios after v.11, in fact they now appear as “Companion Apps” in the latest release. This is following IBM’s intention announced when Cognos 10 was released to move to a single studio interface for its users. First reports form our consultants is that the interface to v.11 is very powerful and a giant leap forward to the C10 interface which quite frankly was becoming tired and dated allowing IBM’s competitors to infiltrate the market place. This should now longer be the case with v.11 and all this on a fully scalable foundation that is proven to scale from a handful of users to full enterprise scale of thousands of users.
What about the cloud?
IBM has been in a difficult position with its software as it earns a good proportion of its revenue from Support and Subscription. Moving to a SaaS model will seriously impact revenues but IBM has to do this to stay in the game. We have seen SaaS offerings around TM1 and SPSS but BI and its need for huge amounts of data and multiple server configurations is difficult to license using SaaS models. However IBM does offer cloud applications and the “in name” on the block is “Hybrid Cloud”. By this they mean a mix of on premise, hosted and true cloud applications working in harmony. As you would expect IBM have the tools to achieve this, namely in the shape of BlueMix and DashDB. Triangle is again investing in making sure we understand how these tools can be used to create the equivalent of the on premise applications we are using today. We have already created prototypes and are working closely with IBM to ensure we understand the opportunities and “gotchas” fully. We are not just leading with technology, we have made it our mission to understand how these new tools can be used successfully in the real world, with real customers doing real jobs and more importantly how much will it cost.
Our client base has changed over the years and as we have engaged with larger clients they demand we look at other tools in the analytics armoury. The simple move of DataManager to the InfoSphere brand has opened our eyes to a whole new world of products in that brand stack that are becoming more relevant to our customer base. Products like QualityStage and Optim to name but two.
However, as Managing Director of Triangle my job is to ensure we don’t get carried away with technology and that we keep our feet on the ground. We must ensure that Triangle continues to offer our customers value for money, services in data analytics and partner with others when we need expertise not currently in our focus. I would rather be known as a specialist provider of Business Analytics than try to spread ourselves thinly over the full range of IBM’s offerings.
As I sit here writing this article I am sure 2016 will bring forward challenges, but rest assured Triangle will remain focused in making sure that our customers are in control of their software instead of the software being in control of them.
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