Do I want red wine or a beer? What system do I use to make that decision? Recent studies reveal that in so many decisions the human brain actually doesn’t make many choices based on rational though but on instinct. So if it’s a cold evening and I want to have a nice meal with my loved one then a glass of red wine will be a choice I don’t need any additional ability to make. If it’s a warm day and there is a garden to sit in then, again, no rational decision with tools to help is needed.

But with the implementation of the next generation of business intelligence tools we are able to move to a state of ‘natural analytics’. But what does this mean? Having recently been in Moscow I can say I could have done with a state of natural visualisation at the airport; as soon as you remove the modern English alphabet everything seems just a little more difficult to understand and you become paralysed to make decisions.

The concept of allowing space to think rather than know has been used to describe what natural analytics will bring, but even that doesn’t quite get to the ‘nub’ of what it means. To our organisation natural analytics will see the advent of a number of things. First and foremost, an increase in the number of people that systems will enable to become ‘data enthusiasts’ across our organisation. The concept of natural analytics to our organisation includes easy access to large data sets and the ability to wander through the data to create your own insight. The natural analytics concept applied to our Open Data Platform is new functionality we will look to deploy that will allow any user with any analytical competency to feel that they can access information easily, making connections, comparisons and creating insight that informs how they go about their ‘day job’. Natural analytics will extend the capability of everyone’s day job!

Doing things naturally should mean they are easy to do. Take the iPhone. Who would have thought when that disruption landed that the average human being would be happy with a phone with just 4 buttons. Previous to the iPhone the business leading solution for work had probably been the Blackberry, with its 40 plus buttons to access a lesser amount of functionality. It is now natural for us to know that different combinations of key depressions of those four buttons will achieve different outcomes, doing it comes naturally! Our desire for the next generation of Open Data Platform apps is to embrace this concept and apply it to them.

Also fitting in with the concept of natural analytics for us is personalisation. In a world where you personalise your teddy bear on the high street, your shoes on the internet and your musical recommendations at your favourite online store, we need to be able to embrace this commercialisation of personalisation within the creation of applications for business intelligence.

One of the regular questions from users of our business intelligence apps is the desire to make them be specific to their needs. You can currently do this but it’s a bit ‘clunky’ and involves bookmarking rather than truly setting up a dashboard for your own ‘personal’ use. The second phase of implementing elements of natural analytics will be two fold, firstly the further development of some additional skills to aid the creation of these personalised dashboards and then the functionality to do just that. Learning from some of the best delivery strategies for business intelligence out there we intend to ‘invest’ one to three in favour of usability over new analytics capabilities, safe in the belief that data can be turned into insight that can deliver intelligence.

Clearly that rational thought process on the difference between red wine and beer is all a little miss guided, the day before British Summer Time and I am in the sunny garden with a glass of red wine, rather than expected cold beer!