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What Savvy BI Managers Should Know: A Spotlight Q&A with BeyeNETWORK Expert David Loshin

Originally published October 24, 2012

This BeyeNETWORK spotlight features Ron Powell's interview with David Loshin, President of Knowledge Integrity. Ron talks with David about the changes in the business intelligence space that signaled it was time to write a second edition of his popular book Business Intelligence: The Savvy Manager's Guide.
David, you’ve been a BeyeNETWORK’s expert since 2004, and you’ve written some of our most popular articles on business intelligence, analytics and information quality. You’re also author of many books, including Business Intelligence: The Savvy Manager’s Guide that was first published in 2003. I understand that a second edition of this book will be out soon. Can you tell us about it?

David Loshin: Thanks, Ron, your comment is quite flattering, and yes indeed, the second edition is due out at the end of October. The second edition is actually quite expanded from the first edition. First, I felt that it was important to add some additional material about developing a strategic plan for business intelligence and business analytics that is fundamentally driven by creating corporate value. Second, I wanted to make sure that we adequately covered the innovations of the past ten years while retaining the themes that are relevant to the consumers (and ultimately, the sponsors) of a business intelligence (BI) and analytics program. The pleasant surprise was that as I reread the original material, I was struck by how much of the original material remains important in today’s environment.

In your opinion, what is the biggest change in business intelligence since you wrote the first edition?

David Loshin: Market developments such as open source business intelligence tools, the growth in the breadth of the types of business intelligence consumers, heightened awareness of the value of analytics, and the popularization of scalable, yet financially cost-efficient means for utilizing high-performance platforms have effectively lowered most barriers to entry for small and medium businesses to take advantage of business intelligence and analytics. And as more cloud-based and hosted applications continue to integrate reporting and analytics as part of their offerings, more savvy managers will want to better understand what BI is and how it can be effectively incorporated into the business strategy.

The first edition’s goal was to help BI managers “gain an understanding of business intelligence, business management disciplines, data warehousing, and how all of the pieces work together." Is that the goal for this second edition too?

David Loshin: Even more so, especially with the overwhelming media popularization of BI ideas such as competing with analytics and the promise of exploiting “big data.”

Can you give us a brief overview of the types of things you cover in the book?

David Loshin: Sure – we begin by motivating the need for business intelligence and analytics, focusing on business value drivers and how BI and analytics programs should be directly linked to measurable business outcomes. We then review the process of developing a business intelligence roadmap that specs out how the environment is intended to satisfy business consumer requirements. We discuss architecture and usability, as well as the use of information, mostly focusing on metadata and business rules. I spend time reviewing the reliance on information, with a focus on data quality and data integration. The last part of the book explores ways that business intelligence is materialized and delivered: data warehousing, high performance BI (including analytic appliances and big data), data mining techniques, and knowledge delivery methods such as reporting, OLAP, mash-ups, etc. There is a new chapter on spatial analysis and location intelligence. I also have developed new material on emerging techniques that take BI to the next level.

What about “big data” and analytics? Will readers find those topics covered in the new book?

David Loshin: Absolutely. Incredibly enough, a lot of the material in the first edition actually covered a lot about the types of high performance computing platforms that are now more generally used for big data applications – MPP architectures, grid computing and networks of available commodity resources, parallelism, analytics algorithms. And in the interim I have worked with a number of vendors in crafting their messaging regarding big data technologies.

This might be hard to answer, but I’ll ask anyway: What was your favorite part of the book to wr

David Loshin: The end! All kidding aside, though, the part that was most interesting to me was the chapter on emerging technologies.

When will this book be available and how can our readers get their copies?

David Loshin: The book is scheduled to “drop” mid October, and can be purchased from Amazon using this link.

Thank you David for telling us all about your newest book.

David Loshin: It is a pleasure. Thanks for providing the opportunity to discuss it!

  • Ron PowellRon Powell
    Ron is an independent analyst, consultant and editorial expert with extensive knowledge and experience in business intelligence, big data, analytics and data warehousing. Currently president of Powell Interactive Media, which specializes in consulting and podcast services, he is also Executive Producer of The World Transformed Fast Forward series. In 2004, Ron founded the BeyeNETWORK, which was acquired by Tech Target in 2010.  Prior to the founding of the BeyeNETWORK, Ron was cofounder, publisher and editorial director of DM Review (now Information Management). He maintains an expert channel and blog on the BeyeNETWORK and may be contacted by email at rpowell@powellinteractivemedia.com. 

    More articles and Ron's blog can be found in his BeyeNETWORK expert channel.

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