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Some of the most exciting and impactful changes coming out of tech right now are in B2B. Analytics, big data, and cloud computing - these are three of the areas that Gartner has identified as the Top 10 Strategic Technologies for 2012. As a SaaS company providing a solution in the data-heavy area of product planning and requirements management, this is great news. But Gartner has uncovered an extremely important trend in next-generation analytics that is right at the center of product planning.
“Over the next three years, analytics will mature along a third dimension, from structured and simple data analyzed by individuals to analysis of complex information of many types (text, video, etc…) from many systems supporting a collaborative decision process that brings multiple people together to analyze, brainstorm and make decisions.”
Gartner describes an older generation of data analytics that is characterized by information silos. All the data is there but because the last-generation systems don’t speak to each other, any aggregate analysis has to be done manually. In most companies, this is time and money down the drain.
As one of the most complex functions in an organization, product planning has been plagued by disparate tools and disconnected information flows. Part of the problem is that data is coming from more places than any one person can keep track of: internal emails, customer requests, company meetings, individual spreadsheets from across departments, and the social media fire-hose, to name a few. Making a great product requires looking at the bigger picture, but old point tools and the information silos they create make this next to impossible.
The most immediate advantage of modernizing product planning is that internal stakeholders get to collaborate and make unified decisions based on a single set of information. But the biggest value that next-generation analytics bring to the table is the ability for companies to benefit from the entirety of their data: one big picture, a clear resulting business strategy, and better success in the market.