* Posts by Rob

1 post • joined 12 Apr 2007

Vendors causing confusion on business intelligence


Missing the point surely?

In some respects, the comments discussed in this article show that there is a lack of understanding regarding what the whole BI proposition is about.

Fancy front ends are all very nice, BI is very nice, but from the perspective of an IT manager, it can either be seen as a threat ("oh no, more work-- we can't do this - data is scattered etc etc") or as a positive ("hurrah - more money and now we can do things properly")

And it's the second opinion that should be being leveraged.

OK, so there is data laying in all sorts of different places. That's just pure bad architecture. How can you define "single point of truth" if you have multiple copies of data? How can you feel safe doing backups and restores if you have multiple, differing instances of the same data? How you you safely design future system or functionality enhancements?

Business"We need a system that does X with this piece of data"

IT group "Fair enough. Which of the 6 seperate sources of that data should we use?"

BI tools, especiallu enterprise level tools, are almost always linked to a decent data warehouse. And that's not "a big ol' DB", but a properly designed, dimensional based system.

OK, sometimes that isn't practical, but what is practical is using a "normal" relational database and putting data marts in front of it, which again are dimensional.

The net result, especially of the second option, is that have your data still intact, applications un-broken etc, but how have a single point of truth within your system as well. Which makes a huge number of IT tasks a lot easier. backups. Architecture. Design. Testing, BI, MI, auditing, compliance with pain in the backside issues like SOX etc.

If you have these, then BI front end tools are fairly trivial to implement.

The management have got their gadget and so are happy, but it's the IT team that have a swanky new data warehouse/set of data marts and a lot easier life in future.

Surely if the management want to give the IT groups lots of money to make their lives easier, it's a good thing, not a bad one?


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