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Web 2.0, BPM 2.0, BI 2.0: How Many 2.0’s Do We Need?

Originally published February 28, 2007

The number two seems to be dominating the headlines and vendors’ marketing strategies at present. Nearly every major IT technology suddenly has a 2.0 tagged on the end of its name. This, in turn, has led to conferences, books and seminars touting the latest 2.0 technologies and architectures. Is this all marketing hype, or is there some value in understanding what’s special about these technology advances?

It all started with Web 2.0, which has its origins in a series of Web development conferences started in 2004 by O’Reilly Media and MediaLive International (now owned by CMP Media). The objective in creating the concept of Web 2.0 was to identify and bring together a set of technologies that represent a new way of deploying Web applications that are not only more powerful, but also easier to develop and use.

Another key aspect of Web 2.0 is that it represents a disruptive set of technologies that shift the balance of control away from the IT department and toward end user self-sufficiency. Technology examples here include wikis, blogs, social networking and mashups.

Enabling users to be more self-sufficient improves productivity, reduces costs and, most importantly, encourages the sharing of information and expertise in organizations. Web 2.0 at present, however, is not for everyone. Some Web 2.0 technologies are suited only to technically experienced and more motivated users. How many executives and senior managers have the time or the inclination to write a blog or update a wiki? How many users know what a tag cloud is?

The biggest issue for IT is loss of control. Blogs are a good example here. Prior to Web 2.0, document publishing was controlled by governance procedures that ensured the information was accurate, didn’t contain confidential or derogatory material and was published in accordance with an organization’s formal taxonomy. The advent of blogs and social networking has led to self-publishing, no content control, and user self-tagging and folksonomies.

The reaction of IT to blogging in the enterprise is to naturally try to control it using existing governance procedures. This is counterproductive and defeats the objectives of user self-sufficiency and fast access to fresh information. Rather, the solution is to have “gold” content that is subject to formal procedures and semi-controlled content, such as a blog, that is not guaranteed, but has been checked for key factors such as confidentiality. The important thing is that regardless of how the content is managed, it is tagged by a quality indicator that shows how reliable the information is. Sometimes it is okay to trade speed for accuracy. This same concept could be applied to business intelligence (BI).

For business intelligence users, two terms to watch are BPM 2.0 and BI 2.0. Like Web 2.0, the contents and definitions of these two terms are fluid and differ depending on who provides the definition. The objectives, though, are consistent and in line with the thrust of Web 2.0.

BPM 2.0 is interesting in that it covers two different, but related, areas – business performance management and business process management. Craig Schiff has already outlined his thoughts on business performance management directions in his August 2006 Performance Management 2.0 article on the Business Intelligence Network. In the article, he wrote that the focus of Performance Management 2.0 is on “operational analysis and performance measurement, a deeper dive into critical areas of financial management, an attempt to better anticipate future results [performance analytics] and more vertical breadth [industry specific applications].”

On the process management side, a Google search reveals several different definitions for Process Management 2.0. One I like is the article BPM 2.0 authored by Ismael Ghalimi. If I paraphrase the article and extract the pieces that are relevant to BI users, I come up with the following list of items: used by process analysts [not business analysts], starting with a complete BPM system, scripting languages like PHP [not Java or J2EE], BPEL and BPMN standards, generation of Web Services on the fly, Web 2.0 user interface, rule engine included, real-time BAM included, and open source process engine.

BI 2.0 also has several different definitions. My list for BI 2.0 is:

  • Performance management and integrated planning
  • Operational and embedded BI
  • Business portal, performance workspace and Microsoft Office integration
  • BI search and collaboration
  • Advanced visualization techniques
  • Advanced predictive analytics
  • BI as a service (SOA and SaaS)
  • Open source BI
  • Enterprise data integration
  • Unstructured and Web 2.0 data
  • Master data management
  • Data warehouse and BI appliances
  • BI and data integration centers of excellence

I have left out one 2.0 term, which is Bill Inmon’s DW 2.0™. I haven’t included this proprietary and trademarked term because its intent is different. Its intent appears to be control, and not the shared, collaborative and open aspects of the other terms.

You can see that Web 2.0, BPM 2.0 and BI 2.0 have shared objectives and interrelated technologies. The bottom line is that business users and departmental IT organizations are forcing the industry to move away from the rigid and centralized IT approaches of the past. The challenge for central IT is to not put roadblocks in the adoption path of these exciting new approaches, while at the same time preventing anarchy and maintaining some level of shared and common direction within the organization. The folks that solve this problem are going to be the real winners.

  • Colin WhiteColin White

    Colin White is the founder of BI Research and president of DataBase Associates Inc. As an analyst, educator and writer, he is well known for his in-depth knowledge of data management, information integration, and business intelligence technologies and how they can be used for building the smart and agile business. With many years of IT experience, he has consulted for dozens of companies throughout the world and is a frequent speaker at leading IT events. Colin has written numerous articles and papers on deploying new and evolving information technologies for business benefit and is a regular contributor to several leading print- and web-based industry journals. For ten years he was the conference chair of the Shared Insights Portals, Content Management, and Collaboration conference. He was also the conference director of the DB/EXPO trade show and conference.

    Editor's Note: More articles and resources are available in Colin's BeyeNETWORK Expert Channel. Be sure to visit today!

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