Thursday, July 27

Informatica mashup

Morgan posts about the deal made between Informatica and -- bringing DW and SaaS together, or as Morgan says, "data as a service". Users access Informatica tools in a services setting to migrate, synchronize and profile CRM data.

The Internet is disrupting a traditional BI toolset race. Google is in the news lately with Cognos and Google Maps doing BI-specific mashups. Soon more companies will realize that this can be a serious avenue for revenue growth. Let the entrepreneurial thinking kick into high gear.

For those, like me, who are new to "web mashups".

0 to 1 Terabyte in 60 seconds

This isn't your grandparents' harvest-gold kitchen appliance. They say it will give you "two orders of magnitude better price-performance" for analyzing large volumes of data. This is hardware with open source software that, when tightly integrated together, improves the performance when querying hundreds of terabytes of data.

Clarise makes the point that enterprises are not investing in new infrastructure and technology. So did Sun and Greenplum waste time & money on a product no one can buy?

Companies have growing volumes of data and the need for timely access to their information. I think we'll see more specialized appliances for the BI industry.

Friday, July 21

BI affects so few

Putting BI in the hands of more users is our goal. Rob Ashe says only 20% of users access data through BI.

Now people are in search of better BI by integrating enterprise search capabilities with BI products.

Imagine typing in "Cases On Time" and getting results showing all the reports and OLAP cubes that match, the KPIs that are related to cases, and any user documentation on definitions and methodology.

You no longer need to remember where to look for information; you just need to know what you're looking for.

Wednesday, July 19

Rules for corporate reporting

There are a flood of reports being proliferated throughout the organization. Who knows what they are used for. And now the "On-Time Cases" KPI means something different to each department.

Hearing this within your organization? This could be a problem from lack of best practices and governance.

The use of "Content Clusters" for corporate reporting, as Aloys Hosman writes, is an approach to clearly define your governance rules, which could save your organization from this mess.

This technique, among many things, lays out who is responsible for meta data within centrally managed data warehouses -- The Gatekeepers. It is less about ownership of the actual data; instead the discussion is focused on ownership of the metadata.

What I would add is the suggestion of not to detail out the entire governance rulebook at the beginning. See what works for your organization; monitor the process and make improvements. The key is to continuously improve so you don't have to create the perfect end-state at the start.

Open source is validated by $8M

It is great to receive validation for what you work hard for. Venture capital funding to the tune of $13M over 8 months says there is a serious new competitor in town. This VC funding validates Pentaho's open source business model and potential to compete.

Interestingly, their product suite sounds similar to the existing BI vendors. "An integrated BI platform with OLAP, reporting, ETL, and data mining."

Tuesday, July 18

The idea of the Long-Tail

"Our culture and economy is increasingly shifting away from a focus on a relatively small number of mainstream products." -- Long Tail 101

1. Make everything available.
2. Help me find it.
Chris Anderson, The Long Tail

The ideas in Chris' new book will be talked about for years. His fresh perspective helps you understand the success stories of companies such as, Amazon, Google, Lego, RealNetworks, Netflix, and iTunes.

"As the costs of production and distribution fall, especially online, there is now less need to lump products and consumers into one-size-fits-all containers. In an era without the constraints of physical shelf space and other bottlenecks of distribution, narrowly-targeted goods and services can be as economically attractive as mainstream fare."

One. BI vendors may benefit from the Long Tail thinking. Focusing on the market of lots of items that sell a few units can be as profitable as a market of a few items that sell a lot of units. Today the aim is generic products with each installation using the same rainbow of product offerings. Assumes all customers have the same needs.

Two. BI can "make everything (ie. data) available" to the users. Bi does this well. But do we do a good job with the "help me find it"? Users can be lost in a sea of information BI makes available to them. A double-edged sword.

Apply various design approaches to increase user's usability of BI. Portal design. Free text search. Simplified look and feel. Personalized information.

Monday, July 17

Try an interactive report card

Why are BI suites compared and graded on someone else's criteria, by someone who doesn't know our company's needs? We should be able to rank BI product suites based on what is important to us. I don't need Language support. Or ad hoc reporting.

As Burger King would say, "giving it to you the way you want it."

Well, now you can. Try BI Pipeline's interactive report card (scroll down in the article to find the Java Report Card picture on the left and play with the numbers).

Monday, July 10

Squeezed from all sides

A generic strategy for most companies attempting to increase market share would be to innovate with leading edge services or products and jump ahead of the competition. Not Google. With Google Spreadsheets, they replicate an existing product that has been around for years, Excel, and shune the fact that it was created by the world's largest software maker, Microsoft.

You may say Google has too much time and money on their hands and their programmers are bored with building Internet search. But this could be one small strategic step with a leading edge vision.

One: I like this move because you shoot Microsoft in their sweet spot, Office products. Yes others have tried, but Google is on the software as a service (SaaS) model and they have a massively well-known brand backing them.

Two: They are now going after market share other than the cool search/consumer industry.

Now, here's where we get to BI.

Combine Google's SaaS model with it's recent partnerships with BI vendors, which is their public attempt to reach the corporate market (and they will). Together, and given time, you get what, NetSuite, and ADP have done successfully in their industries for years but now in the BI space.

BI via software as a service.

Easy to use, Internet-based, BI paid by the month. No more unused licenses sitting on shelves. Increase or decrease users - only paying for what you need. You'd want configurable transformations and easy report building techniques.

Now before you discount the SaaS model or raise the privacy of information issues, consider this. Of all the companies that could leap frog the competition with leading edge innovation and technology, Google is a sure bet.

And it could be BI's time to take the next visionary leap.

Friday, July 7

9 things about BI from Google Trends

Google Trends can provide interesting results, as with Steve Rubel's 25 things in society's psyche post. So here are 9 BI industry trends.

1) Cognos and Business Objects are neck and neck, except Cognos is in the news more often.

2) There is double the popularity in DW than BI when in Pakistan, Indonesia, and Thailand.

3) And MIS jumps even higher in that area of the world.

4) Microsoft is still bigger than Oracle (both are searched more than IBM).

5) Almost no one has interest in ROLAP. Is OLAP now the winner?

6) Kimball is more popular than Inmon. Or is Kimball, the name, just more common.

7) Dominican Republic and Netherlands look for BPM more but overall BI searches are higher.

8) Informatica is untouchable, except when the giant SAS enters the picture.

9) Six Sigma out weighs Balance Scorecard by... well, alot. And India sure is looking for process improvement information.

And one from Steve's post...

Google is bigger than God?