Category Archives: Interviews

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.)

Interviewing IBM’s Rob Ashe

Some interesting discussion over the intersection of Business Intelligence and SaaS with Rob Ashe, GM of business intelligence and performance management unit.

BI doesn’t lend itself to SaaS. Every company is different because even if transaction systems are the same, the decisionmaking process is different. Unlike Netsuite or a CRM application where everyone does the same basic things, BI uses a different model every company. The one to many model doesn’t work. That being said, there are other aspects of SaaS that make sense for BI. These SaaS vendors accumulate data. We have 30 OEMs that use SaaS offerings to share to reflect data back to customer.

BI isn’t plumbing. Key to making SaaS work is the multitenant environment. Our product can be used in a multitenant environment so you can apply business intelligence. We participate in the SaaS marketplace from the dashboarding side.

Read more at Seeking Alpha.

Larry Manno on Enterprise BI Strategy

A video interview with Bearing Point’s director Larry Manno on Intelligent Enterprise Business Intelligence Strategy, from PodTech.

Join BearingPoint director Larry Manno to explore enterprise business intelligence (BI) strategies and the opportunities it presents to an organization. Many organizations recognize the opportunity to capture performance benefits through the use of BI tools. Increasingly, they are turning to BI as the means to transform their raw data into actionable information for competitive advantage. However, every organization faces unique challenges in defining their BI vision and executing on it. Even within information-intensive industries such as financial services, there is much opportunity for improvement.

Gartner’s Kurt Schlegel – The Next Generation of Innovation

Big story straight from keynote of Gartner BI Summit 2008 that’s happening currently at Chicago. This is Gartner’s Kurt Schlegel talking about search, analytics and visualization.

We’re going to focus on three clear areas of innovation. The first — and I’d say this comes closest to being the essence of the conference overall — is about creating a BI strategy that is focused on making decision making a core competency as opposed the just reporting measures. Today we have very IT-centric BI teams that view their job as “let’s get the data right and let’s report to the right users at the right time.” That’s obviously essential and everybody has to be very good at that, but we view that as table stakes. Everyone has to be good at that. The folks that take it up a notch create a BI strategy that’s less IT-centric, more business-centric and more focused on decision making itself.

The second innovation is about emerging technologies and addressing the problem that BI is too hard. All sorts of anecdotal evidence suggests that there’s 15 percent to 20 percent penetration among users and that’s about it. We’re reaching the people who are comfortable with Excel and grids, but we could be giving a lot more people the power to report on and analyze information and make better decisions. One way to do that is with some of the emerging technologies, particularly search and visualization, which have been proven to have mainstream appeal.

The third and final innovation is about the BI market itself. It’s a bit complicated, but it’s focused on integration and the fact that BI has always been overtly disconnected from business processes and applications. Given the market consolidation and the stack centricity of what a lot of these vendors are doing, there’s going to be a much greater focus on integrating BI with an application and process stack. I think that’s going to be very helpful, but there are other aspects to this area of innovation. I think software as a service (SaaS) and cloud computing are going to give rise to an array of different types of BI offerings. That’s going to change the market from what it looks like today.

This is and much more including Saas and SOA. Must Read.