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I am convinced there is a sea change coming in the world of BI. I call it Universal BI and it is the idea that delivering interactive dashboards which allow end-users to access more information with much less effort on mobile devices will propel us from the 20-25% historic adoption levels of BI towards 100% adoption.

There are many reasons for thinking this. From the repeated failure of ad-hoc / self-service BI to the growth of mobile adoption through to the success we see our customers having with their interactive dashboard projects. Each of these is covered in more detail in the following series of posts:

If you change the way you look at things, the things you look at change

There is a huge change coming in BI. In fact it is likely there will be more change in the next 2 years than there has been in the last 10 years (and big data is not the most important driver).

The rise of interactive dashboards

Adding interactivity to dashboards dramatically changes what is possible and is the first step on the road to Universal BI. In fact, this is such a compelling way of delivering information that Google are starting to add it as the default way to view structured search results.

The spread of iPad wildfire to BI

The big lesson BI can learn from the mobile is the amazing effect Apps have on user adoption

Goldilocks BI

Universal BI is not too simple (like canned reports) nor too complex (like ad-hoc/self-service BI tools), but just right ... providing end-users with all of the information they need to do their jobs through a no-training required interface offering just the right level of interactivity so they can quickly answer their business questions.

Agile Design

In order to make Universal BI a reality it must be possible to create dashboards quickly AND with collaborative input from end-users otherwise we just end up back in a "reporting backlog" situation

All of these, together, suggest that if we change our thinking just a little, dashboards really can pave the way to a world of Universal BI where every end-user has all the information they need at their fingertips, allowing them to get in to the information, get what they need, get out and get on with their primary focus, which is running the business.

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