Business Intelligence (BI) seems to be the new black these days. We have been doing BI for a while now, before it was BI, I guess. Albeit we work within a very narrow slice of the BI space, namely project data.
Unlike many BI projects we actually know what data we are looking for, can take advantage of it directly and are certain that it actually correlates. The project data is targeted specifically to ensure a more accurate estimation, tracking and follow up of not only current projects but also in forecasting future projects within the given company. We can use the data to find gaps, making the responsible stakeholders able to take immediate action on problematic areas. In short you can say that the complicated process of acting and following up on potential gaps is made much simpler using Forecast.it.
From experience we know that this area seldom is tackled properly because it quickly gets complicated and tedious through extensive manual labor. The agility and speed of many modern projects makes this even more tedious unless it is automated as much as possible. Taking advantage of historic knowledge is something very few companies do, even for companies at the 4th and 5th level of CMMI.
The beauty of not only automating this but also driving intelligent statistics on this and using it proactively makes it insanely useful and very credible. You can say that through the use of massive amounts of data as the foundation of the solution we can forecast things in a manner that has not been possible before. As our Automatic Learning Algorithm (ALA) automatically takes advantage of all data in the solution the process of improving is also becoming more and more automated since Forecast.it suggests how long individual tasks should take based on historical facts. Through the use of intelligence we are able to tackle thousands of parameters like development models, tagging, project phases, number of projects etc.
Just amassing data from numerous different sources into one place will in a lot of cases not provide the magical aha moment as many come to expect. Of course companies in this space will never tell you that to your face. That's why we believe that narrowing the field down as much as possible will get you the best and most low hanging fruits in the shortest amount of time.
So in the case of BI, it's of course possible to look through heaps of data from many disparate systems, but there's no guarantee that you'll actually find what you're looking for. And if you do believe you have found it, please sanity check whether it actually correlates.