So you've all seen Flash production movies? You've all heard of Pod-casts? How about web-interactivity without "changing pages"? I'm sure you've seen Flash produced web-sites, or played an animated game lately. This post is about the new skill sets needed by BI vendors, and Business Intelligence Analysts to survive the new upcoming wave. Those of you producing PowerPoints, or sitting in the background coding "BI Reports..." you've got a few things to learn.
Alrighty then, I'm a little brazen in this entry, but I'm also excited. I think there's a new wave (ok, so it's not new) but it's hot, of where the industry is heading. I think AJAX is really cool, the web technology is awesome, but there are new delivery technologies on the rise that are starting to force us to re-think the way we interact with the business community.
If you've not learned Flash yet, you're already behind the 8-ball. Flash combined with ActionScript has been around for a long time, but AS3 and Flash CS3 creator have evolved. They are some of the hotest products out there. Give up on your old "BI 2-D non-interactive tabular reporting". You've got new skills to learn!
These days it's about interaction with the user, animation, graphical displays, and delivering learning content. Flash gives you all that, Unfortunately there aren't any "really good ActionScript libraries" developed strictly for Business Intelligence (yet). But I'm seeing and feeling like the existing BI vendors would do well here - to animate their reports, combine the static reports with interaction against the database, along with instructional video and quizzes (like do you know what this metadata means?)...
These are important skills for BI delivery folks to pick up. I am going to start delivering a Flash recorded video blog as an experiment (I know, these already exist - but mostly these are today geared towards the graphic artists).
I've got news for you, new skills are needed on the horizon. Flash and ActionScript can deliver a power-packed presentation, which can be tailored (live) according to the audience level of participation.
ActionScript lets me hook to the database, communicate with a server in XML & sockets, and control delivery of streaming content. Why wouldn't I want my BI solution to involve interaction? It seems like (to me now) that 2D static reporting is a thing of the past, although printing these components on hard-copy still is a good idea.
Flash makes drill-down, drill-across easy, as does presentation in 3D with animtaion steps.
Ok, so why am I excited? I've been teaching for over 10 years, dry powerpoint presentations, with PPT animation... Ok - a still a good way to deliver content, but take the PowerPoints, run it through Captivate, put it in Flash, then add my own dynamic actions to it? Quizzes, and the like... way cool. Now as an instructor I can tailor the instruction to the student WHILE they are experiencing the course. Talk about interactive "business intelligence" - I finally have the opportunity to use "LIVE BI" to interact at run-time with the student or business executive to deliver the NEXT STEP of the class according to what they need.
Really cool stuff. What would happen if someone like Cognos, Microstrategy, or Hyperion would put there output into a Flash movie? So you could "run through reports, add explanation, and decision pathing, and metadata + voice" then deliver the content to the business? I think interest and interaction would increase, especially if the recorded movie automatically interacted with the database to bring back live data... Talk about visualization capabilities... WAY COOL.
Ok - Dan, you're off your rocker...
Am I? Really? Haven't you always wanted to make BI interesting, and interactive? Wouldn't it be more fun? I've discussed convergence in the past, I've discussed data visualization, and interactive graphics - SO WHY NOT? Why should I code in SQL alone? Why shouldn't I code in ActionScript + SQL + XML and use the power of PowerPoints, Pathing, Quizzes, and Flash to make presentations that really pop?
My experimental blog will replace the Wiki on BetterDataModel.com - we'll see where this goes... Love to have your comments and thoughts.
A couple of products you really have to have (no I'm not a re-seller)
$40 - ZLASH, ActionScript editor IN PLACE in SWF files (movie files)
Adobe Flash CS3 Pro, $399?? Something like this
Posted March 2, 2008 3:55 PM
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