Tuesday, May 19, 2009

The Business Intelligence Chronicles Part 11 : BI : Rear-view Mirror or Real-time Dashboard or Forward Looking Crystal Ball or All 3?

Classical BI with it's roots in Data warehousing has always been more of a Rear-view mirror : offering creative insights into essentially historical data. You can slice it, dice it, drill up, drill down, view it in cubes or reports or dashboards but it essentially is historical.

Last Friday IBM launched IBM System S , a real time data analysis software. IBM is positioning it as "software designed to analyze streams of real-time data". It "could help financial institutions monitor transactions and analyze risks, or help hospitals monitor patients to detect problems early ". I have not had the opportunity to look at the software or it's documentation yet.

Interesting !

However, even a "Real-time Dashboard" is meaningless without a functional "Rear view mirror" as we all know from our experience driving automobiles or running companies. A real-time dashboard may indicate that sales are dropping or manufacturing defects are rising at 3:00 p.m. This data in isolation without a "Rear-view mirror" giving historical perspective ("Over the last month sales have started declining or manufacturing defects rising at 3:00p.m.") is only of marginal importance.

I am sure IBM would be envisaging buyers complementing it's System S with some of it's more traditional BI offerings like Cognos etc.

I think BI should be Rear View Mirror, Real Time Dashboard and Forward looking Crystal Ball all rolled into one......

Speaking of Cognos, attendees returning from Cognos Forum (held over last week) were slightly disappointed by the lack of new offerings. Last year their was a great buzz around the 8.4 release, nothing such this year around.

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