Technology has changed and continues to change the way companies do business. But it isn’t easy for decision makers at companies to keep track of new technologies and understand how the use of these can change their companies and its processes for the better. To help readers chart these waters, Mint presents an interactive column on corporate technology with questions answered by experts. This column looks at business intelligence.

How has the field of business intelligence evolved over the years?

Soumendra Mohanty, senior manager and lead of Accenture’s business intelligence practice in India

What are the broad trends in the BI space in terms of technology and deployment of BI?

Wherever customer centricity is required, BI provides a distinct advantage.

Implementation and usage of BI in India is still at a catching-up stage with respect to what has happened elsewhere. But there is a growing awareness of operational BI implementations, customer data integration, master data management (MDM) and, to some extent, predictive analytics and modelling.

Business analytics is considered as the way ahead. How is this trend impacting BI?

A lot of the values derived from traditional data warehousing and BI is still revolving in the area of “what happened". The move from reactive analytics to predictive analytics is a different animal.

What is the trend on new capabilities such as search and guided navigation, master data management and operational BI?

All these buzzwords have started becoming a reality. With the advent of portal and content management tools, search engines like FAST, the information usage and subsequent analytics will completely change the BI landscape.

MDM is another aspect which will gain importance. We are living in a mergers and acquisitions world, which means disparate sources of data but delivering same business functions, often geographically distributed by nature, and hence the need for a reference data management implementation. MDM will become as important as the operational systems based on which a business runs every day. Marrying real-time analytics with historical perspective will be a distinct advantage any company would like to have. It is in real-time decision-making that BI will play a larger-than-life part.

Readers are welcome to write in with their queries to

This issue’s expert is Soumendra Mohanty, senior manager and lead of Accenture’s business intelligence practice in India.