Rethink Your Strategy for Next-Generation Business Intelligence
A new report urges companies to balance business impact with the cost of technology.
Posted Aug 19, 2010
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Altimeter Group recently published its research report Rethink Your Next Generation Business Intelligence Strategy, outlining business intelligence strategy suggestions regarding business impact and the cost of technology. The author of the report, Ray Wang, research analyst for enterprise strategy at the Altimeter Group, advocates intregating newer data types, such as social and mobile sources into traditional transanction data, and taking advantage of newer, advanced visualization aids.

Wang asserts that many users are beginning to expect to see more than "traditional charts, gauges, and dials" and that applications like AJAX, Flash, and Silverlight can create more "interactive BI epxeriences." Wang writes, "New and old paradigms include ad-hoc query builders, business performance management (BPM) systems, dashboards, production reports, scorecards, and advanced visualizations.  New visualization types include matrix charts, network diagrams, bubble charts, tree maps, word trees, tag clouds, phrase nets, and others."

Wang identifies new data types as "geo-spatial, hardware data points, location based, machine data, metrics, mobile, physical data points, process, RFID's, search, sentiment, streaming data, social, text, and web." Much of that data, 80 percent according to Wang, is unstructured, such as blogs, email, SMS, audio, video, images, and social networking sites. Wang notes that the structured data as "the most understood type," but tells readers that "the old world of structured data must make way for a plethora of new data types in unstructured data."

"[This data is] not coming from existing apps," says Wang. "The data that's out there is really about stuff that just shows up [....] These things are starting to pop up. But for some organizations, they only work with data in their sources."

Semi-structured data, like RSS feeds, XML documents, and data in spreadsheets, have created new industry vertical standards, as new systems need to support PCL, Met code, ASP.  Wang observes that "Unfortunately, no single vendor can support all the data types that fit into [structured data, semi-structured data, and unstructured data]."

Wang also addresses the practical solutions to using deployment options with the influx of data from many different sources. He cites "BI appliances, BI in the Cloud, BI specific DBMS, Mobile BI, open source BI, on-premises packaged BI apps, private BI clouds, and SaaS based BI," as practical solutions.

Because many vendors will rush to develop ways to meet these new requirements, Wang suggests ten business intelligence tips to buyers that encourage dynamic user experiences, community, and business focus. Among supporting role-based designs, delivering consistant experiences, and enabling relevant information, Wang also recommends aligning with adaptive business processes, producing information that ties back to goals, fostering proactive insight, and empowering all stakeholders.

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