Monthly Archives: June 2009

The 2009 Value Index for Business Intelligence

Ventana Research today introduces its 2009 Value Index for Business Intelligence, the second of a new category of quantified, research-based Indexes. This new Value Index provides research-based metrics that will enable organizations to ascertain the value to them of existing and future business intelligence technologies, systems and tools for business and IT in a simple and easy-to-use manner. Using the Value Index, businesses will be able to meet the challenge of evaluating vendors and their products and making choices based on an understanding of how well the offerings meet their needs.

The Value Index is the result of more than a decade of analysis of technology suppliers’ products. The methodology used to produce the Value Index for Business Intelligence evaluates in detail aspects of product functionality and suitability-to-task as well as the effectiveness of vendor support for the buying process and customer assurance. The Index represents the value offered by a vendor and its products, using both a clear and accessible graphic representation in thermometer form and a precise numerical index. Those technology vendors earning the highest Hot Vendor classification are those that Ventana Research certifies best represent buyer value based on a thorough evaluation and audit – that is, based on research and verifiable facts. The Value Index is not just a selection of “cool” products, and rather than merely representing a vendor on a four-quadrant chart, the Index provides a specific thermometer reading with a series of component metrics for a technology buyer to consider. Organizations can use the Value Index by determining their priorities and then consulting the Index to determine which vendors best meet those needs.

The 2009 Value Index for Business Intelligence indicates that the company delivering the highest value on an overall weighted evaluation basis is Information Builders, which earned the “Hot Vendor” rating, followed by IBM Cognos Software, Infor, Softscape and arcplan, all of which earned the “Warm” rating. Drilling down, the Value Index evaluation of product functionality using the Ventana Research Business Intelligence methodology identified (in order) Information Builders, Infor, IBM Cognos Software, Actuate, Symphony-Metreo, Microsoft and arcplan as Hot Vendors in this category.

From Ventana Research’s Press Release.

Myths of Cloud Computing, Busted.

Myth: The cloud reduces your workload In the long run, maybe. But to get started, you have to figure out which model of cloud computing is right for you; which applications or services are best suited to it; and how to ensure the proper levels of security, compliance, and uptime. And remember, monitoring the performance of any vendor takes extra time.

“When you’re running production applications, there’s a lot of thinking that goes on in terms of redundancy, in terms of reliability, in terms of performance and latencies,” says Thorsten von Eicken, CTO and founder of RightScale. Before moving applications to the cloud, customers need to ensure those requirements are met, he says, calling it “wishful thinking” that cloud-based systems automatically manage themselves.

Some basis myths of Cloud Computing ripped apart in Computer World.

Business Intelligence TCO

Business Intelligence TCO

Interestingly, despite requiring fewer full-time equivalent employees (FTEs) to support BI deployments, the Best-in-Class are capable of completing BI projects, from start to finish, both on budget and within expected time frames. Additionally, they are delivering BI capabilities to more enterprise users than their counterparts.

This report investigates the key factors that organizations consider important in controlling the total cost of business intelligence implementations. Thirty-seven (37) organizations (20 percent) were found to be Best-in-Class at managing the total cost of ownership (TCO) of their business intelligence solutions. Thirty-one percent of the 26 Microsoft (Nasdaq: MSFT) BI users that took part in the survey achieved Best-in-Class status — a higher proportion of its installed base than any other major BI vendor. Figure 1 highlights the number of survey respondents that reported using each vendor’s software, together with the percentage of that vendor’s customers that achieved Best-in-Class.

Interesting article on CRM Buyer

3 years of BI Blogging!

Incidentally, this blog completes its third year of existence today. Tons of things have changed around me professionally and personally. My belief in what BI could do to change the world hasn’t changed a bit.

Three years and tons of hours of dealing with data growth, data issues and design challenges has only increased my interest towards the art & science of Business Intelligence. Three Cheers!

P.S – Here’s the first post made on June 21, 2006(a rainy day in seattle then and now).

What Is So Different about BI Today?

The days have changed forever as far as the user interfaces are concerned. In the past, instead of developing user-friendly systems, the technologists had to look for “system-friendly” users. Because of new “consumer-friendly” interfaces, many more people are using computers not only in their workplaces, but also in their personal lives, day in and day out. Since the interfaces developed for the consumers by Lands’ End, L.L Bean, Costco, WebMD and the like are much friendlier, the same consumers – when they function as employees in their jobs – have come to expect similar ease of use and interactivity.

The businesses are aware of it, and if they are not, they should be. They have to not only provide friendly interfaces, but they also have to provide access to information to the right people, at the right time and at the right price so that the employees can make sound business decisions. That is business intelligence in a nutshell.

From a well thought about article on B-Eye Network by Shaku Atre.

CIOs take BI Apps, strategy to next level

Chris Brady, CIO at 450-employee Dealer Services Corp., a Carmel, Ind.-based financer for car dealerships, is starting to play with predictive analytics as well. In particular, she is looking at a forecasting tool by SPSS Inc. to gather and model data from the data warehouses in order to analyze what is happening at a dealership before deciding whether to approve a loan.

A dealership’s credit worthiness is not as black and white as a consumer’s, Brady explained. “Sometimes what looks like a bump in the road is just that — it’s not a sign that they are going out of business, and if we take the wrong action without the right information we could put them out of business,” she said. “We need to be able to see patterns in our customers’ behavior to predict what may happen next, and take the right course of action based on those patterns.”

From Search CIO article.

Simplifying User Reporting Still Key BI Goal

There’s been much discussion about ad hoc reporting, but few business users seem able to actually build a report themselves from scratch with today’s tools. Why is that?

In my experience, actually, most users can build reports from scratch, but it should never be the first step. Initially, users don’t have much of a comfort level with the data model or the tool. The best way to get them started is to create the initial five to ten reports for them and then show them how to customize these reports. Again, a five-minute video that they can return to later if needed is a great way to teach. If it takes more than five minutes to explain how to make a simple change to a report, your system is way too hard to use.

Once users are comfortable making the small changes they need on a day-to-day basis, they naturally start creating their own reports from scratch. They now both understand the tool and know where the data is. We’ve seen many cases where a dozen initial reports turn into hundreds of reports over the course of a year. In fact, IT is often shocked to find out how capable users really are if you just get them started with a good set of reports and some initial training.

Q & A with Sanjay Bhatia, CEO of Izenda, a company that offers integrated self-service reporting for the .NET platform. (As an OEM solution, it is integrated into hundreds of .NET applications with over 25,000 end users, including the U.S. Navy, WellPoint, BHP Billiton, JC Penny,the EPA, Volvo, and Gateway.)