Aug 28, 2006

BI Megatrends

I just finished reading an article in Intelligent Enterprise about the latest trends in Business Intelligence. This was a very insightful article with some great points on how the BI industry will be focusing on over the next year. Neil Raden from Hired Brains touched on many of my own ideas for BI and data warehousing. Without laying the elephant on the table, he outlined that BI and DW vendors need to do more to incorporate new technology and to offer their solutions to more companies than those willing to fork out the big bucks. Here are a couple of comments that I found to be relevant to that topic specifically:

"Typically, BI has been a disconnected activity, with users unable to traverse the big gap between being informed and being able to do anything about it. Currently, stacks of BI functionality, such as reporting, ad hoc analysis and OLAP (online analytical processing), serve only a small fraction of the user community (as measured by licenses)--10 percent to 20 percent, according to most studies, though actual use is probably even lower. Although the tools generally require no programming and the basics can be taught in a couple of days, conceptually BI still demands a level of understanding about the data, data models and data manipulation processes beyond most knowledge worker's skills or patience. Consequently, the level of IT involvement in BI is still high, leading to reduced ROI and an overall lack of agility and timeliness, except for those few power users who invest the time and effort to develop proficiency."

"Three external factors will drive BI out of its comfort zone and into new modes of usefulness. The open-source movement is one of them. However, it remains to be seen whether open source's impact will be simply to drive down software costs or to start something bigger. Can the open-source community marshall its participants' creative resources to develop truly breakthrough products? Everyone knows about Linux, but BI software doesn't have a similarly vast number of interested parties behind it. On the other hand, the pressure might be a good influence on BI vendors, who might otherwise feel they can get away with mediocre software at exorbitant prices."

"The time has come to radically rethink BI's basic methodologies. Caching, virtual data warehousing, query federation, autonomous agents, real-time and direct access to operational data stores are all more feasible now and must be built into the new BI. Doing so will help companies alleviate the delays and rigidity that confound current approaches."

"Monolithic BI suites with expensive per-seat licenses will lose favor--as will BI and data warehousing "stacks" cobbled together from different generations of technology. Market advantage will go to newer, less comprehensive entrants. Even older applications that provide specific functionality, such as visualization, Monte Carlo simulation or other stochastic processes and industry-specific analytics will get a leg up."

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