Tuesday, January 23, 2007

You're a BI What? The Myopic View of BI Vendors

An excellent article that I came across while adding the Digg functionality to this blog yesterday (notice the new Digg It! button below, and the list of BI stories on Digg on the right!) does a wonderful job of outlining some of the major shortcomings of the BI industry at the moment. Neil Raden from consulting outfit Hired Brains and the fingertips behind the Addicted to BI blog, gets stuck in, criticising vendors for a myopic product/customer/sales view of organisations, and being too focused on the software/hardware tool, rather than the all-important decision support. Shades of Peter Keen there, who made the same criticism of DSS developers and vendors back in the 1980s - it's the first 'S' in DSS that's the most important, ie. support should take precedence over the system (since the latter is only a means to achieving the former).

Raden also talks about the potential of Web 2.0 (ugh) concepts that may be of benefit to decision-makers: collaboration, tagging, etc. Although I'm not a fan of the label, I am very supportive of Web 2.0 thinking that sees social interaction and bottom-up creation of content as the key to useful tools on the web. If we can overcome the problems we currently have in getting BI software users to contribute metadata, etc., then some interesting things might happen.

My favourite quote from Neil comes at the end, though, and goes directly to the issue of the provision of support to decision-makers. He makes the point that most business people are tech-savvy, often more aware of the latest tech trends than internal IT support staff. They just won't put up with crappy support:

"Look, I'm playing a 3-D video strategy game with four people in China I don't even know, while I'm downloading data to my iPod, while I'm answering messages in Yahoo messenger. Are you going to tell me I can't have a report for three months because it has to go through QA?"

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