October 31, 2013

Specialized business intelligence

A remarkable number of vendors are involved in what might be called “specialized business intelligence”. Some don’t want to call it that, because they think that “BI” is old and passé’, and what they do is new and better. Still, if we define BI technology as, more or less:

then BI is indeed a big part of what they’re doing.

Why would vendors want to specialize their BI technology? The main reason would be to suit it for situations in which even the best general-purpose BI options aren’t good enough. The obvious scenarios are those in which the mismatch is one or both of:

For example, in no particular order: Read more

February 22, 2013

Should you offer “complete” analytic applications?

WibiData is essentially on the trajectory:

The same, it turns out, is true of Causata.* Talking with them both the same day led me to write this post. Read more

July 12, 2012

How important is BI flexibility?

How flexible does business intelligence technology need to be? Should it allow fully flexible ad-hoc data analysis, or does that overwhelm users? Are they perhaps happier with simpler, more prescriptive analytic paths? My answer is a resounding “It depends”.

On the one hand, it’s clear that some users really care about business intelligence flexibility. They don’t want the “right” dimensional hierarchy, carefully worked out in advance. They don’t even want fixed drilldown paths smartly calculated on the fly, ala’ Endeca (which, after all, ultimately didn’t succeed). Rather, they want to be able to truly choose aggregations and roll-ups for themselves.

Supporting this view is the rise of in-memory business intelligence. For example:

But why would anybody pay up for the speed of in-memory BI? Analytic RDBMS offer blazing speed for broad ranges of queries. Parameterized reports let you do drilldowns in memory. So only if you need great flexibility do you need to keep a whole analytic data set permanently in RAM.

Read more

March 31, 2012

Our clients, and where they are located

From time to time, I disclose our vendor client lists. Another iteration is below, the first since a little over a year ago. To be clear:

For reasons explained below, I’ll group the clients geographically. Obviously, companies often have multiple locations, but this is approximately how it works from the standpoint of their interactions with me. Read more

January 4, 2012

Some issues in business intelligence

In November I wrote two parts of a planned multi-post series on issues in analytic technology. Then I got caught up in year-end things and didn’t blog for a month. Well … Happy New Year! I’m back. Let’s survey a few BI-related topics.

Mobile business intelligence — real business value or just a snazzy demo?

I discussed some mobile BI use cases in July 2010, but I’m still not convinced the whole area is a legitimate big deal. BI has a long history of snazzy, senior-exec-pleasing demos that have little to do with substantive business value. For now, I think mobile BI is another of those; few people will gain deep analytic insights staring into their iPhones. I don’t see anything coming that’s going to change the situation soon.

BI-centric collaboration — real business value or just a snazzy demo?

I’m more optimistic about collaborative business intelligence. QlikView’s direct sharing of dashboards will, I think, be a feature competitors must and will imitate. Social media BI collaboration is still in the “mainly a demo” phase, but I think it meets a broader and deeper need than does mobile BI. Over the next few years, I expect numerous enterprises to establish strong cultures of analytic chatter (and then give frequent talks about same at industry conferences).   Read more

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