The term Pervasive BI is getting a lot of traction these days. Perhaps you’ve heard the term and wondered a) what does it mean? And b) how does it pertain to my organization? I originally shared thoughts on this topic in a recent ITWorld post in which I looked at the trend in comparison to some Gartner Research predictions and shared thoughts on how companies can readjust their thinking.

First question. What is Pervasive BI? Essentially, it relates to the idea of creating a more inclusive approach to information use across the organization to facilitate data sharing with all key stakeholders. In a nutshell, pervasive BI translates to the idea that BI is everywhere, connected to everything and usable by everyone.

A few months ago, Gartner shared its top 10 strategic IT trends for 2015, which suggested that we will soon find ourselves in a world where business intelligence is more than just available to everyone, it’s actually in everything. According to the analyst firm, “Computing everywhere” and the “Internet of things” create a unique environment for advanced, pervasive, invisible analytics embedded in context rich systems and smart machines.

It may take a moment to sink in, but the underlying message is an important one for today’s executives: an analytics culture is critical to staying competitive. This clearly aligns with the push to make BI and analytics pervasive in business. Currently, however, BI adoption rates hover at around 30 percent in a typical enterprise. And unfortunately, the majority of users are still analysts who rely on complex tools. This leaves the bulk of employees without the insight needed to make informed decisions.

Updating Practices

There are ways to address this, however, and help better spread intelligence throughout the organization. Ensuring the quality of data is of course critical, and an effective data integration strategy is also essential. With the rise of the Internet of Things, today’s world is more connected than ever. Data originates from numerous disparate, often non-human sources, and failure to effectively integrate those sources means that employees are left with an incomplete—and ultimately inaccurate—understanding of the data. Implementing a unified platform that brings data integration together with data integrity will set an organization on a course toward a culture of pervasive BI across the organization.

One of the reasons for the low BI and analytics adoption rate in the enterprise is that employees have reservations about working directly with data. For the most, interacting with data is outside their usual job duties, and thus outside their comfort zones. So how do you remove that fear and doubt? Make the analytics invisible by embedding them in easy to use apps.

Working within apps is something many of us do on a daily basis. This is one approach that is gaining popularity in the enterprise, and, quietly, making BI and analytics more pervasive. It allows organizations to build scalable, interactive, custom applications for making decisions that can be accessed on devices by hundreds of thousands of employees in any location, with no specialized training required. The app approach opens up BI possibilities and helps share key content with numerous additional stakeholders.

Knowledge is power, and making business insights more accessible across the industry is the only way that companies can equip their workforce with what’s needed to make informed, business advancing decisions. Pervasive BI presents a big opportunity for organizations, and how well they execute it will ultimately determine future success.