Sunday, August 24, 2008

Business Intelligence 2.0

A provocative article on B.I. dating back a year and a half makes an interesting juxtaposition between the development of Web 2.0 and business intelligence. Or at least, where he thinks B.I. will be. Or ought to be.

It's by a bloke called Neil Raden, and you can read it here. There are limits to the analogy, of course. Web 2.0 is about a ramping up due to interactivity, collaboration. Business Intelligence 2.0, from what the author says, is simply about what B.I. would be like if the professionals and software developers just got on with the job and came up with more sophisticated tools.

At first glance, I thought it was pie in the sky. Second glance, it all made sense in a general way: the toolset is not what it should be in an ideal world, and there's no reason the B.I. space shouldn't go that way. But in reality, such evolution would take quite some time. And in fact I query how susceptible to simplification something as mercurial as data - and people's approach to it - can be. Raden acknowledges here the value of the semantic web project, and that may actually be whence the best initiatives emerge.

Still, it's challenging, and worth reading for those in the industry, or who are touched by the issue.


Neil Raden said...

Is being a "bloke" a good thing or a bad thing?

I think we're starting to see some movement in this direction. There is a ton of BI activity happening in Open Source and in SaaS. Some of it is very creative. More importantly, the ETL vendors are starting to wake up too, as well as some industry veterans who are beginning to pull away from the data warehouse as the sole source of analytical data (and processing).

I'm making slow progress in the semantic technology area though. That's going to take some time.

Neil Raden
Partner, Smart (enough) Systems LLC

S Simmonds said...

Hi Neil,

Yes, a bloke is a reasonable thing to be :)

And yes, I think you're spot on in identifying Open Source, SaaS - and ETL improvement - as significant enablers.

I believe we're ramping up to some revolutionary changes (to mix metaphors :) in the use of BI. Still got a way to go, but it's exciting being here and now.

As a BI practitioner, I find significant issue with the information consumer's articulation of just what they want - at least in part because it's a discovery process, rather than an end-point to be reached. I feel that one of the biggest bridges to cross is the enablement of the consumer to achieve their own discovery intuitively. Something that is currently claimed by this product or that, but really, there's still some distance to be travelled.