The midmarket especially is still having a hard time with business intelligence. The appetite simply isn't there for "metadata", "data stewardship", "data quality", "XML", "ODS", "MPP" and the like. Simple reports - yes. Quick implementation - now you're talking. Stepping into this fray is venture-backed LucidEra - Hosted Business Intelligence on Demand.
While I have been bemoaning packaged approaches to BI for years, saying there are efficiencies but few shortcuts, I have to say the LucidEra approach has merit for its target customer base - the midmarket.
. Expert applications that answer the most commonly asked questions
. User-definable configurations, not done by vendor
. Focus on business processes
. Platform not exposed to customer
They're only in Beta and it's one application, Forecast-to-Billing, but just as in an end-user environment, once the data act is in order, applications can be spun off relatively quickly and I anticipate LucidEra will do this.
Could LucidEra be a (long-term) custom OLAP killer? Maybe. Time will tell, with the next few quarters being critical to that direction. Custom Microsoft solutions are also pretty easy to deploy and will be the choice of many in the midmarket, although Microsoft is eyeing the fortune accounts. Regardless, all signs point to improvement in the penetration of the midmarket by business intelligence.
As with anything "packaged", buyer beware. Just be ready and understand it fully. Hire a real DW/BI consultant to help you organize processes and roles and responsibilities for maintenance and iterating it.
Posted October 9, 2006 7:25 AM
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