Information Builders

Analysis of Information Builders Inc. (IBI) and its business intelligence products. Related subjects include:

August 14, 2013

The two sides of BI

As is the case for most important categories of technology, discussions of BI can get confused. I’ve remarked in the past that there are numerous kinds of BI, and that the very origin of the term “business intelligence” can’t even be pinned down to the nearest century. But the most fundamental confusion of all is that business intelligence technology really is two different things, which in simplest terms may be categorized as user interface (UI) and platform* technology. And so:

*I wanted to say “server” or “server-side” instead of “platform”, as I dislike the latter word. But it’s too inaccurate, for example in the case of the original Cognos PowerPlay, and also in various thin-client scenarios.

Key aspects of BI platform technology can include:

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February 21, 2012

Third-party analytics

This is one of a series of posts on business intelligence and related analytic technology subjects, keying off the 2011/2012 version of the Gartner Magic Quadrant for Business Intelligence Platforms. The four posts in the series cover:

I’ve written a lot this weekend about various areas of business intelligence and related analytics.  A recurring theme has been what we might call third-party analytics — i.e., anything other than buying analytic technology and deploying it in your own enterprise. Four main areas include:

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February 21, 2012

The 2011/2012 Gartner Magic Quadrant for Business Intelligence Platforms — company-by-company comments

This is one of a series of posts on business intelligence and related analytic technology subjects, keying off the 2011/2012 version of the Gartner Magic Quadrant for Business Intelligence Platforms. The four posts in the series cover:

The heart of Gartner Group’s 2011/2012 Magic Quadrant for Business Intelligence Platforms was the company comments. I shall expound upon some, roughly in declining order of Gartner’s “Completeness of Vision” scores, dubious though those rankings may be.  Read more

July 30, 2010

Advice for some non-clients

Edit: Any further anonymous comments to this post will be deleted. Signed comments are permitted as always.

Most of what I get paid for is in some form or other consulting. (The same would be true for many other analysts.) And so I can be a bit stingy with my advice toward non-clients. But my non-clients are a distinguished and powerful group, including in their number Oracle, IBM, Microsoft, and most of the BI vendors. So here’s a bit of advice for them too.

Oracle. On the plus side, you guys have been making progress against your reputation for untruthfulness. Oh, I’ve dinged you for some past slip-ups, but on the whole they’ve been no worse than other vendors.’ But recently you pulled a doozy. The analyst reports section of your website fails to distinguish between unsponsored and sponsored work.* That is a horrible ethical stumble. Fix it fast. Then put processes in place to ensure nothing that dishonest happens again for a good long time.

*Merv Adrian’s “report” listed high on that page is actually a sponsored white paper. That Merv himself screwed up by not labeling it clearly as such in no way exonerates Oracle. Besides, I’m sure Merv won’t soon repeat the error — but for Oracle, this represents a whole pattern of behavior.

Oracle. And while I’m at it, outright dishonesty isn’t your only unnecessary credibility problem. You’re also playing too many games in analyst relations.

HP. Neoview will never succeed. Admit it to yourselves. Go buy something that can.  Read more

April 1, 2009

Business intelligence notes and trends

I keep not finding the time to write as much about business intelligence as I’d like to. So I’m going to do one omnibus post here covering a lot of companies and trends, then circle back in more detail when I can. Top-level highlights include:

A little more detail Read more

January 12, 2009

Database SaaS gains a little visibility

Way back in the 1970s, a huge fraction of analytic database management was done via timesharing, specifically in connection with the RAMIS and FOCUS business-intelligence-precursor fourth-generation languages.  (Both were written by Gerry Cohen, who built his company Information Builders around the latter one.)  The market for remoting-computing business intelligence has never wholly gone away since. Indeed, it’s being revived now, via everything from the analytics part of Salesforce.com to the service category I call data mart outsourcing.

Less successful to date are efforts in the area of pure database software-as-a-service.  It seems that if somebody is going for SaaS anyway, they usually want a more complete, integrated offering. The most noteworthy exceptions I can think of to this general rule are Kognitio and Vertica, and they only have a handful of database SaaS customers each. To wit: Read more

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