It used to be the case that version 2.0 software delivered the function that was originally promised for the product and you had to wait until at least 3.1 before it performed. Now that Web 2.0 is all the rage, it seems that "2.0" can be applied to just about anything. So it wasn't much of a surprise to see DW 2.0 (and the TM is important, believe me!) from Bill Inmon last year and now Business Intelligence 2.0 as described by Neil Raden in his recent article.
In truth, Neil has got much closer to the new spirit of "2.0" as he recognises the impact of the changed paradigms of social computing, collaboration, mash-ups and other Web 2.0 approaches on traditional data warehousing. He's also spot-on when says that "better ties between analysis and action" will emerge.
But my question is - will it be Business Intelligence 2.0 or will it simply be "Business Intelligence to zero"? If everything a business user needs is going to be mashed-up into a user-defined portal interface, and analysis and action (aka informational and operational) are intimately linked, why have Business Intelligence as a separate entity at all?
Two forces are acting simultaneously to change the face of BI beyond recognition. At the back end, SOA is gradually redefining the way applications interact, driving more integrated data and allowing more pervasive access to that same data. Data modelling, cleansing, extraction and transformation - traditional preserves of the data warehousing IT department - will become part of the mainstream IT business. Out on the user-facing side, business people increasingly expect an integrated view of all their tasks - without having to think if they are analytical or action-oriented.
As an example, take a look at the IBM Workplace Dashboard Framework, where traditional BI user function is delivered through a standard portal. Now recall that traditional action-oriented, operational applications can be surface through the same portal; and the portlets can exchange information! Where will the boundary exist between informational and operational in such a portal?
Neil is absolutely right when he says in conclusion: "Prepare for the inevitable". It seems to me it's the inevitable re-integration of BI into the mainstream of IT.
Posted February 8, 2007 11:15 AM
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