Gut + Data = Better Gut (today and tomorrow)

I love Dave Cherry’s equation “Gut + Data > Gut” in his article where he argues that gut feel is always better when complemented by data.

I would take it a step further and add that :-

Gut + Data = Better Gut

After all, gut feel comes from experience and what is experience if not the collection of data (often informally) about a particular business or organization? Continue reading

A middle ground for “Pre-packaged BI Applications”

There was an interesting discussion last Friday on Howard Dresner’s weekly #BIWisdom tweetchat about pre-packaged BI applications.

Unfortunately, I couldn’t be on the chat at the time but reviewing the conversation it felt like there is little belief that pre-packaged BI applications which you can just “plug in and use” are really viable, they came low on importance in Howard’s most recent #WisdomofCrowds survey and most people on the chat seemed to worry about the need for customization. Continue reading

Is QlikView the right place to create your Data Warehouse?

Open or closed data warehouse?

During the recent Qlik and Cloudera virtual Big Data event, Cindi Howson (@BIScorecard) tweeted “Yikes – 1001 data sources brought into one @qlikview app. More common is 30 ish #QCVirtual

Yikes, indeed! Stories like this are not than uncommon in the BI world where technology is pushed beyond its natural limits due to fast evolving business requirements, pressure to deliver and the fact that incremental small steps often feel like the best path forward even though they make future small steps much harder. Continue reading

5 reasons why SAP Lumira is not the natural successor to SAP Dashboards (aka Xcelsius)

The natrual successor to SAP Dashboards?@Xeradox recently tweeted: “Me wondering: Is #SAPLumira not the “natural” successor to #Xcelsius? #DesignStudio not feasable 4 end-users 2 create own dashboards IMHO

And, @DataIntel asked: “Who is the challenger to #SAP #Xcelsius? Lumira or DesignStudio? Can we build dashboards @ the speed of business change using current stack?” Continue reading

A recipe for Excel BI harmony

20 years’ ago when I first started my career in BI one of the most common projects I would get involved with was the replacement of Excel based reporting systems, with a “proper” BI system.

The business justification was easy:

  • Duplicated effort with multiple departments producing their own versions of the spreadsheet
  • Time wasted in meetings deciding whose numbers to run with – do we go with finance’s definition of revenue or sales’ definition?
  • No single version of the truth meaning a recipe for inconsistent decision-making Continue reading

Weather web sites and the future of Business Intelligence

Comparing Business Intelligence to weather web sites might seem a little odd, but I am convinced it is valid and more importantly highlights a path to the future for the way we use information in our organizations. Continue reading

Static BI Adoption and a Proposed Solution

Cindi Howson of BI Scorecard has just published her annual “Successful BI Survey”* and the results are sadly all too familiar.

Once again BI adoption is pretty much static at 22% (a little down on last year’s 24%, but probably statistically flat).

As I have written about time and time again in this blog, my strong feeling is that the reason for this flat-lining of BI adoption is that we have saturated the “analyst” BI market and we are going about “end-user” BI in the wrong way Continue reading

Why have SAP gone Lumira mad ?

Is it just me or do SAP talk more about Lumira than all their other BI products put together ?

If I am right, then it is a little odd because when I have talked to people at SAP the strong message I get is that Lumira is a tool targeted at analysts, and analysts, I would argue, are a small minority of the potential BI users in an organization.

Despite some of the more outlandish claims in the market, we are NOT “all analysts these days”. The vast majority of us have jobs to do which involve running part of a business, and although we need data and information to do this, this does not make us analysts or suitable users for an analyst tool.

Continue reading

The two key types of BI usage

Today, Timo Elliott at SAP tweeted that for BI:

“nobody seems to agree with me, but it’s not about the type of user, it’s about tasks”.

Timo I do agree, and yes it all comes back to the BBC weather site again :-)

Although you can sub-divide a thousand different ways, the most important distinction (if you want to deliver successful BI) is between “analyst BI” and “end-user BI”.

I know that sounds like types of user but actually it is not, it is about modes of usage and one user can use both of these at different times.

Continue reading

A Visionary Example of the Future of End-user BI

My ex-colleague from BusinessObjects, Bill Schmarzo (that is his picture to the left), has just posted a blog entry (here) which should be compulsory reading for anyone in BI and especially for those who are working with BI and “big data”.

Let me explain why …

The opportunities opened up by “big data” are very significant and no-one should be ignoring them. Unfortunately, if you follow the hype in the market today at best you will only realize a small percentage of the value and at worst you will swamp your organization with inappropriate, time-consuming access to data they don’t actually need. Continue reading