As I speak with analysts, customers and partners I am always awed by the degree of passion people have about their particular tool of choice in the presentation of the data. But I keep wondering if the passion isn't a bit misplaced and should be more about the findings from said data, or about the data itself. The data sources and the content providers are the real foundation of Business Intelligence. I am a probably a heretic to focus on the commonality of the tool offerings and to want to defocus on the tools and interface layer, but of late, most of the companies with whom I have been speaking are relaxing standards to allow users access to the tool of choice!
Interesting that it has come full circle and now I am seeing the market heat up in favor of Excel. Excel 2010 is offering the more sophisticated analytic user the type of functionality they need without the extensive support of IT and without a learning curve beyond their usual skillset. But then, I never expected to hear the major financial institutions say they are seriously looking at putting their data in the cloud and that the use of any tool will do as long as the business decision is relevant and actionable.
So, if data in the cloud and personal tool selection become the mantra of the Business Intelligence community, then access to the appropriate data and content becomes the overarching issue. Oracle is attempting to play nice and "support" a mixed environment in their infrastructure. An Oracle backend in an SAP shop is OK as long as there is some footprint for potential upsell. The result being a quagmire of pipes and connectors typical of the early days of Business intelligence. Due to the level of sophistication we have achieved with MDX and JDBC, ODBC, ODBO, and other alphabet soup connectors, the customer wins and CAN participate in a multi-vendor, cloud deployment without impact to the analysis which is the critical task at hand.
I support all the vendors in the Business Intelligence space. They each have a following and they are constantly inventing new ways to try and make data meaningful. Each user should have the right to manipulate and study the data in the environment of choice. The back-end should not have to dictate the front-end. The cloud makes this paradigm easier, but the tools vendors have the capability and wherewithal to make this a reality today and enhance their own connectivity to be ubiquitous in anyone's environment.
Posted July 13, 2010 11:17 AM
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