Yellowfin 7.2 introduced new technical capabilities in three core areas, including:
• The Business Analytics Workflow: The Business Analytics Workflow introduces a new framework to facilitate superior collaboration between data analysts and business users within the BI platform
• API connectors: Yellowfin 7.2 ships with an open connector framework, enabling users to connect to, visualize and act on data from any third-party Web-based application
• Forecasting: Improved forecasting and trend analysis extend the breadth of Yellowfin’s predictive capabilities, facilitating better, faster data analysis
Business Workflow: Driving in-platform collaboration and user adoption
“Yellowfin 7.2 is a modern BI platform that connects people and their data,” said Yellowfin co-Founder and CEO, Glen Rabie. “The unique Business Workflow framework in Yellowfin 7.2 empowers business users and data analysts to work collaboratively to produce better business insights. Crucially, it also enables the entire data-driven decision-making process to take place in the BI platform where it belongs.”
The Yellowfin Business Workflow provides a clear path and process for business users to directly connect with the BI and data experts in their organization, to raise trackable tasks and data quality issues, brainstorm ideas, collectively review content and take better, faster data-driven action.
“The BI industry, as a whole, has persistently low user adoption rates,” said Rabie. “In an attempt to combat that issue, many BI vendors have tried to turn business users into data analysts, making them perform self-service data preparation and analysis tasks. At Yellowfin, we think that’s entirely the wrong approach. The industry has been trying to do this for more than 20 years and user adoption rates have remained stagnant at between 12 20 percent.
“We approach the problem in a completely different way. Yellowfin’s Business Workflow boosts business user adoption by enabling those users to actively participate in the entire data-driven decision-making process. Business users get the BI content they need, without having to turn into overnight BI experts or data analysts.
“This way, business users can work together with data experts to ensure the best business insights are delivered, allowing them to make better and faster decisions, while concentrating on their core job function.”
Yellowfin Business Workflow delivers a unique collaborative method of improving task management and analytic workflow in order to connect business users with business analysts. Features include:
• Task Management: Yellowfin’s new Task Management system gives business users the power to raise and assign tasks from anywhere inside the Yellowfin BI platform. Users can flag data quality issues, as well as request, track and review analytic content or analysis before publishing and sharing. Yellowfin’s Task Management system quickly connects business needs with BI experts in the organization, while giving users complete visibility over task progression from creation through to completion.
• Discussion Boards: Plan BI projects inside Yellowfin’s BI platform with Kanban style Discussion Boards that allow data analysts and other BI users to brainstorm ideas, organize responses to tasks and manage projects. Yellowfin Discussion Boards also enable users to visualize and organize workflow into activity streams to boost transparency, enabling users to easily monitor and communicate progress.
• Smart Tasks: Yellowfin Smart Tasks improve accountability and instantly turn insight into action by automatically generating tasks from Yellowfin broadcasts. If data falls outside predefined thresholds, a task is instantly created, assigned and given a deadline for completion.
Experts agree: Collaboration in Yellowfin 7.2 addresses market need
Industry expert and Associate Analyst at Bloor Research, David Norris, said that Yellowfin’s collaborative Business Workflow framework addressed an important gap in the BI market.
“I find Yellowfin’s approach very interesting and agree that the key is not to try and make everyone a data analyst,” said Norris. “After all, as far as the business is concerned, data is IT’s domain the business is only generally interested in the insights and outcomes of data analysis.”
When asked by Yellowfin, Norris said that other BI vendors had approached the challenge of increasing BI adoption differently by attempting to push the data preparation and analysis responsibilities of the data analyst onto business users “because it’s easier to adapt what they have to fulfil that goal”.
“Importantly, Yellowfin isn’t a BI tool attempting to make the business user a techie,” said Norris. “It is about presenting data to users in an attractive visual representation, backed-up with some of the most sophisticated collaboration tools embedded into a BI platform on the market.”
Principal Consultant at international BI consultancy Minerra, Steve Remington, echoed Norris’ sentiments.
“Research suggests it can be more efficient when a decision-maker delegates information collection and analysis to an analytics specialist,” said Remington. “The new workflow and collaboration capabilities in Yellowfin 7.2 can make it easier for decision-makers and analysts to work together because analysis and collaboration is more closely linked. This can lead to better outcomes from using analytics in organizations.”
A recent study conducted by IDC, titled Collaboration in the Age of Big Data, found a “link between the levels of collaboration among IT, line-of-business (LOB) and analytics groups, and the success of Big Data and analytics projects”.
Despite this, the same study found a lack of collaboration between business decision-makers and business analysts:
• Just 21 percent of LOB professionals rated collaboration with IT and analytics colleagues as extensive
• Just 23 percent of analytics professionals rated collaboration with IT and LOB colleagues as extensive
There is a clear need to address this lack of communication between BI consumers and BI experts.
IDC Program VP of Big Data and Analytics, Dan Vesset, said that the current climate often widened the gap between business users and data analysts, often to the detriment of the enterprise.
“Many line of business and analytics groups pride themselves on their ability to bypass IT to fulfill their own needs for data access and analysis,” said Vesset in a media statement. “But there is a fine line between data and analytics democracy and anarchy. Improved collaboration among all stakeholders can help mitigate risks and improve outcomes of BDA projects.”
API connectors in Yellowfin 7.2 make data more accessible
Yellowfin 7.2 also includes an ‘open’ connector framework, enabling clients to quickly and easily build custom connectors for any third-party Web application. Additionally, Yellowfin 7.2 will ship with a range of API connectors out-of-the-box, including pre-built reports and dashboards, for applications such as Salesforce, Xero, Google Analytics, LinkedIn, Twitter, YouTube and more.
“Yellowfin’s connector framework and pre-built connectors empower users to easily create, share and act on analytical insights from their most important third-party Web apps,” said Rabie.
Many of Yellowfin’s out-of-the-box connectors will enable users to analyze data from popular social media applications and marketing platforms.
“Marketing is becoming an increasingly data-driven industry,” said Yellowfin Director of Product Marketing, John Ryan. “Yellowfin’s API connectors can assist marketers to quickly analyze the impact of a raft of marketing activities and social media campaigns to demonstrate return on investment.”
Research indicates that analytics is set to play an increasingly important role in marketing departments and organizations across the globe.
The CMO Survey of 2015 sponsored by the American Marketing Association, Duke University’s Fuqua School of Business and research firm McKinsey & Company found that spending on marketing analytics will increase 83 percent over the next three years. Another 2015 study, The State of Marketing Analytics: Insights in the age of the customer, predicted a 73 percent increase in spending on marketing analytics over the next three years, with big B2C companies increasing spend by around 100 percent over the same time period.
Enhanced predictive analytics capabilities in Yellowfin 7.2
New forecasting and trend analysis capabilities in Yellowfin 7.2 extend the breadth of Yellowfin’s analysis capabilities.
“Demand for predictive analytics is quickly growing as it becomes increasingly important for organizations to use their data assets to pinpoint trends and conduct accurate forecasting,” said Rabie. “Yellowfin 7.2 will deliver enhanced forecasting and trend analysis capabilities, making it easier for users to understand where their business is heading.”
New forecasting capabilities offer enhanced flexibility, allowing users to set the parameters used to create a model, which enables faster and more accurate forecasting. Changes to trend analysis allow users to easily plot the relationship between two variables on a chart to instantly identify a trend. Finally, users can now automatically plot an average value on a chart by simply selecting to show an average for a particular metric.
The ability to conduct predictive analytics is set to become an increasingly important point of competitive advantage, evidenced by projected market growth.
Research firm Transparency Market Research has forecast the global predictive analytics software market to grow from USD $2.1 billion in 2012 to over $6.5 billion by 2019 a Compound Annual Growth Rate (CAGR) of 17.8% from 2013 to 2019.
MarketsandMarkets has predicted similarly impressive growth figures, estimating the worldwide predictive analytics market to grow at a CAGR of 25.2% from 2013 to 2018. In fact, MarketsandMarkets forecast the global predictive analytics market to reach $9.2 billion by 2020, at a CAGR of 27.4% during the forecast period.
Feedback on Yellowfin 7.2: Clients and partners
Yellowfin’s clients and partners spoke enthusiastically about how Yellowfin 7.2 would positively impact their businesses.
Quantiphi Inc (US based Yellowfin technology partner)
“Yellowfin 7.2 delivers several features that I have always wanted in a BI solution it’s clear the development team has worked tirelessly. The out-of-the-box API connectors and report content for Web apps as well as the introduction of Yellowfin’s collaborative Business Workflow will give Quantiphi and all Yellowfin channel partners a strong competitive edge.
“Not only will Yellowfin 7.2 help Yellowfin partners win the initial sale, its unique features will also create an enormous positive impact on the BI efforts within client organizations, which will drive repeat business. Quantiphi is excited to be part of the Yellowfin ecosystem in bringing Yellowfin 7.2 to market.”
Asif Hasan, Co-Founder of Big Data analytics service provider, Quantiphi Inc
First Consulting (Netherlands based Yellowfin partner and client)
“The new Business Workflow framework in Yellowfin 7.2 has the ability to make the creation and analysis of BI content, and the action taken from data-driven insights, far more collaborative. BI consumers can easily reach out to the data experts in our organisation to get the answers they need and become truly involved in the BI decision-making process. Yellowfin 7.2 will boost our usage of the product, particularly from business users, while also allowing us to keep our discussions and decision-making in full view of our latest BI content within Yellowfin.”
Paul ten Haaf, Business Technology Practice Lead at Process, IT and Change consultancy, First Consulting
OBISS (Denmark based Yellowfin reseller partner)
“Our plan is to upgrade immediately after the release to ensure our clients adopt 7.2 from the beginning. High user adoption is key for long-term success. With Yellowfin, we see very strong client user adoption, especially compared to Microsoft BI. Client feedback has been fantastic.”
Michael Johansen, CEO of Managed Service Provider OBISS (Online Business Intelligence Solution Services)
DSCallards (UK Based Yellowfin reseller partner)
“We see Yellowfin 7.2 being a game changer for customers in terms of helping to increase user adoption of Business Intelligence for clients. Collaboration is a key driver for adoption of BI tools and this is a space Yellowfin clearly dominates.”
Adrian Handley, Managing Director at DSCallards
Leighton O’Brien (Australian based Yellowfin client)
“I really appreciate the effort Yellowfin puts into each new release and into making the user interface as user friendly as possible.
“I have to say a huge thank you to the team for introducing pre-built connectors and the ability to create our own. I’m absolutely thrilled to have the ability to connect to R. I couldn’t be happier.
“I also love the trend lines with the ability to view equations. I especially loved the ease of adding average and cumulative trends to charts.”
Jenny Kirillova, Business Intelligence Consultant at Leighton O’Brien
Yellowfin (yellowfinbi.com) is a global Business Intelligence (BI) and analytics software vendor passionate about making BI easy. Founded in 2003 in response to the complexity and costs associated with implementing and using traditional BI tools, Yellowfin is a highly intuitive 100 percent Web-based reporting and analytics solution. Yellowfin is a leader in mobile, collaborative and embedded BI, as well as Location Intelligence and data visualization.
Over 10,000 organizations, and more than 1.5 million end-users across 70 different countries, use Yellowfin every day.