Friday, November 21, 2008

A survey of Australian BI practice - call for participation

We really like the folks at Intalign and are doing a couple of research related activities together with them on an ad hoc basis. Right now they are doing a survey of Australian organisations to understand what they are doing with BI. Martin Kratky, one of the Directors at Intalign, just sent out this update and reminder to people on his list about the survey:

"So far, more than 50 major Australian companies have participated in this important study, held in conjunction with Monash University. To gain the broadest possible cross section of prominent Australian organisations, we would be very appreciative of your confidential input.

As a thank you for participating in this survey (max. 10 mins), we would like to offer you:

  • A free copy of the survey results to benchmark your BI processes including reporting, software, budget allocations and more against best practices and other survey participant's organisations.

  • A $150 voucher to be used for a one day executive workshop

We are still inviting professionals that are in charge of Business Intelligence processes in their organisation (with an annual turnover of at least $20 million) to take part in the survey. To participate, please send an email to:"

If you fit the demographic - an Australian organisation with turnover > $20 mil, and have some spare 10-15 minutes, why not drop them an e-mail and get the link to the survey.


Friday, November 14, 2008

The vendors ARE mad!

Now I need to qualify this post - which is in response to a vendor presentation I went to during the week - by saying, that the vendor - Cognos - is in my opinion one of the good ones. Their technology is pretty good, maybe still a few performance issues with large numbers of users but generally in great shape. I really like the new report meta-data feature (lineage they call it) in version 8.4 of their core reporting tool. That will be quickly copied by the other vendors.

But, and I mean BUT, I saw a demo of a guided report writing tool - intended to help end-users build their own reports without IT support. All the vendors offer something like this, and none of them work very well.

I counted clicks during the demonstartion. The presenter went through a standard demo, just building a simple financial report with revenue, target and variance shown. It took 31 clicks and 7 drag and drop actions to the build the report. The presenter didn't make a single mistake, knew the software backwards and knew where the data was, and it still took 31 clicks and 7 drop and drags. NO. That is not and end-user report creation tool.


P.S. They also had 3D pie charts with the middle taken out to make them look like donuts. Why?