Author Archives: @donaldmac

“Should everyone have access to self-service data integration?”

data scientistAlmost as soon as I had published my last post (speaking up for forgotten business intelligence users), I saw the following question in a tweet from industry analyst, Wayne Eckerson (@weckerson):

“Should everyone have access to self-service data integration?”

This is a bit like asking:

“Should we give sharp knives to all children?” Continue reading

Speaking up for forgotten business intelligence users 

There seems to be a conspiracy in the Business Intelligence (BI) world to ignore the needs of the large majority of users in an organization, namely most of the business users!

I don’t for a minute think this is deliberate. But, it is a significant oversight in a world where getting information to EVERYONE should have become a basic requirement of doing business.

In listening to the commentary around the market, you would be forgiven for thinking that the only capabilities that matter any more are: Continue reading

Are you missing most of the value of your Big Data?

Big DataIf there is a data lake in your organization, what percentage of your organization see data from it on a daily basis?

I suspect the answer in most organizations, even the most Big Data savvy ones, is very low – possibly much lower than 10%.

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DesignStudio as a replacement for SAP Dashboards/Xcelsius?

xcelsius grim reaperAs you plan your move away from Xcelsius/SAP Dashboards (which, if you are not already doing, you really ought to get started) then I would recommend listening to a recent episode of the Diversified Semantic Layer Podcast* entitled “Is DesignStudio the Dashboard Slayer?”.

The question up for discussion was whether DesignStudio is a suitable replacement for Xcelsius / SAP Dashboards. Key quotes were:

  • “If [in DesignStudio] you want more than a single chart pointing at a single data source that doesn’t need to refresh or have any interaction … you need to write some sort of code”
  • “If you are a traditional Xcelsius developer I don’t know how you would get started with that”
  • “If you are a BX or BEx shop it makes a lot of sense to use DS, if you are not, good ******* luck for the time being”
  • “Turning all your Xcelsius developers into Design Studio developers; that is not going to happen for most customers”

So for non-BW users, that sounds like a resounding “no”! Continue reading

Data Lakes, Data Warehouses or both?

Data LakeI am starting to see more and more people writing that data lakes are “replacing data warehouses”.

Unfortunately, in my opinion, this is another example of technology hype getting in the way of effective use of data in organizations.

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Most people need BI apps, not “self-service”

As someone who has previously written (here and here) about how technology labels often don’t help us, you might think it a little odd to find me writing a post comparing one label (BI Apps) with another (self-service BI), but bear with me.

I came across an article written by a product marketing chap, which draws an interesting analogy between doctors needing patient information and corporate users of BI. The article is not recent, but we still see a trend, especially from vendors, claiming that self-service BI is everything business users need.

The author of the article asks us to imagine a scenario where doctors are not allowed to access data directly, but instead have to go and ask non-medical, data specialists for the information, sometimes waiting hours or days for the answers. Clearly, this is supposed to be a parody on the way BI works in some organizations and equally clearly this would be a ludicrous way to run a hospital.

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3 reasons why SAP Lumira is not a replacement for SAP Dashboards (aka Xcelsius)

The natrual successor to SAP Dashboards?Almost a year ago we published a post which explained “Five reasons why SAP Lumira is not the natural successor to SAP Dashboards (aka Xcelsius)”, and further why we believe that our DecisionPoint™ product is a better way forward.

The advice in this post still holds true, and indeed the events of the last year have reinforced our viewpoint.

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How to get users to use your business dashboards

Interactive business dashboardThe battle for attention is a big part of the success of any dashboard. As Mico Yuk says, “the only metric that matters in BI is user adoption” – if your dashboard isn’t used, it doesn’t matter how good it looks or how efficiently is conveys information.

So how do you design a dashboard that resonates with your business users and increases engagement and adoption?

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How SMEs can maximize the value of business data

Cloud business dataWith the rise of cloud based business systems (accounting, CRM, customer support) smaller organizations now have immediate, easy, low-cost access to the same range of transactional systems that larger organizations have enjoyed for years.

Unfortunately when it comes to getting a deeper understanding of the data these systems capture, the story can be rather different.

Continue reading