October 26, 2015

Differentiation in business intelligence

Parts of the business intelligence differentiation story resemble the one I just posted for data management. After all:

That said, insofar as BI’s competitive issues resemble those of DBMS, they are those of DBMS-lite. For example:

And full-stack analytic systems — perhaps delivered via SaaS (Software as a Service) — can moot the BI/data management distinction anyway.

Of course, there are major differences between how DBMS and BI are differentiated. The biggest are in user experience. I’d say:

* Computer Pictures and thus Cullinet used a touch screen over 30 years ago. Great demo, but not so useful as an actual product, due to the limitations on data structure.

Where things get tricky is in my category of accuracy. In the early 2000s, I pitched and wrote a white paper arguing that BI helps bring “integrity” to an enterprise in various ways. But I don’t think BI vendors have done a good job of living up to that promise.

Indeed, it’s tempting to say that business intelligence has been much too stupid. 🙂 I really like some attempts to make BI sharper, e.g. at Rocana or ClearStory, but it remains to be seen whether many customer care about their business intelligence actually being smart.

So how does all this fit into my differentiation taxonomy/framework? Referring liberally to what has already been written above, we get:


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