BI and analytic platforms enable companies to measure and improve the metrics that matter most to their businesses, such as sales, profits, costs, quality defects, safety incidents, customer satisfaction, on-time delivery and so on. BI and analytic platforms also enable organizations to classify the dimensions of their businesses — such as their customers, products and employees — with more granular precision.

The BI and analytics platforms market is broad, covering many different use cases and levels of maturity that span four distinct phases: descriptive, diagnostic, predictive and prescriptive analytics.

The vast majority of applications built with BI and analytics platforms to date could be labeled "descriptive" because critical capabilities, such as reports and dashboards, are used to describe the dimensions and measures of a particular aspect of the business.

Today, we find more organizations wanting to build diagnostic analytics that leverage critical capabilities, such as interactive visualization, to enable users to drill more easily into the data to discover new insights. For example, visual patterns uncovered in the data might expose an inconsistent supply chain process that is the root cause of an organization's ability to consistently reach its goal for on-time delivery.

For example, OBSITECH could build a predictive analytic system to forecast the on-time delivery measure. Solutions can be further evolved to prescriptive analytics as the insights from predictive models are integrated into business processes to take corrective or optimal actions.