As an organization recognized as being visionary, innovation is at the heart of what we do at Yellowfin. But when I look at the BI industry as a whole, I think it has hit peak dashboard and stopped innovating.
While there has been some incremental improvements in the last few years, there has been nothing significant recently - and I think there are four clear reasons for that.
Firstly, there has been a lot of consolidation in the industry recently. When that happens, behemoth vendors focus far more on selling than building new products that are going to disrupt the industry.
What is really interesting is that, because no new paradigms have been brought to market, customers aren't actually demanding something new. That’s the second reason that innovation has stalled; customers are aligned to the dashboard vision, so they don’t ask for something different that makes their lives easier.
Thirdly, the cost of switching vendors is horrendously high. This is why very few customers migrate from one platform to another in the analytics space. Once you have built your data warehouse and potentially started to put your data into proprietary products you’re locked in. As a vendor, you can rely on that, so there is no incentive to create new products to help customers get a better experience.
Finally, in the last year with COVID we’ve seen a huge reduction in innovation in the industry generally with everyone working from home. I think working from home limits your capacity to innovate because people don't have the opportunity to work and communicate well. You can’t get people into a room together and noodle on ideas as a group in a way that’s truly collaborative. The incidental conversations also disappear and they often lead to great things.
On top of that, the stress of living under COVID also makes it very difficult for people to come up with innovative ideas. You don’t have the mental space to relax and think of new things. Instead you're focused on dealing with day-to-day life, now much more difficult.
In Australia, we’re lucky in the sense that we are now able to work safely and get back into the office. What we’ve seen at Yellowfin, is there is a pent up demand to get back into innovating. Our people have been really energized to be back in the office, and you need energy to innovate. Some of our team have found that they’re now solving issues in minutes that used to take days remotely, and the collaboration that fosters great ideas is now happening more frequently.
I think there is still huge scope in the industry to do something radically different that helps business people access the data they need to do their jobs. Now that we’re back in the office, we've got a huge innovation pipeline coming down the line over the next 12 months at Yellowfin - and I’m really excited by it.
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