Dec 11, 2007

Operational BI

Mark Madsen is blogging about Operational BI. Operational BI just means that BI is more accessible to end users.

Vendors in the business intelligence and enterprise applications market have been talking a lot about operational BI, making BI pervasive and active/dynamic data warehousing. They're responding to the need businesses have for up-to-date information at the point of use so decisions can be made more quickly or tasks can be done more effectively.
Making operational BI a reality will require two things: front-end tools that address the specific interface needs at the point of usage, and a metadata-driven query layer that isn't tied to a specific UI.

Mark goes on to note that we wont likely see any of the predominant BI vendors adopt either of these two things. Why? Inertia. The article is a good read, and I recommend it because it explains the problem very well.

I believe there is a a market for a metadata-driven query layer. Something like this would be complex, but as I've said before, I believe the talent and tools exist, they just aren't focused.

Dec 10, 2007

Sexy Enterpise Software?

Scoble is out of his element writing about Enterprise Software, but he hits this nail right on the head.

Why enterprise software isn’t sexy � Scobleizer — Tech geek blogger

I have invested by interests and schooling in Enterprise Software. I love Business Intelligence and Data Warehousing. To me, the concepts are really exciting. The software itself -- not so much. The trouble is that most enterprise software is massive. It is extremely complex in its implementation and its goals. Because of this, more time is spent on functionality than usability. When was the last time you saw a UI to enterprise software that you liked?

Here's the trouble. We really don't care enough about it to spend the extra cash to make it thus. Enterprise Software doesn't need to be sexy to get used. Consumer software does. CIO's are going to buy software for the company that will bring value and that value isn't going to be measured by how many warm-fuzzies my employees get while using it. It's based on cost savings and maximizing revenue, more of the former for CIOs.

So as much as I'd love to see enterprise software vendors build sexy applications, I don't see them wasting time on eye-candy any time soon. There is, however, a great deal to be excited about in enterprise software. As with any software, it doesn't matter how well it looks in comparison to how well it runs. The back-end may not have the polish we would like, but the stuff that goes on there to simplify complexity and provide value is simply amazing. It's worth looking at and studying.


I really should put this in a separate post, but I must point out one other thing here. If you want to point a finger at one other contributing factor to the lack of sexy enterprise applications, I think you have to point to Java. Most enterprise applications are built on Java. Java has the ugliest UI libraries out there. One way to quickly start building sexier applications is to either dump Java or encourage Java developers to work on libraries that actually look nice and encompass modern UI techniques. I don't mean to pick on Java here (if you know me, you know I'm not a fan), but to me it is an obvious conclusion.

Dec 1, 2007

Crayon Physics

Thanks to Scoble I found this incredible video.