For the vast majority of software vendors operating in the business intelligence (BI) sector there appears to be a sense of frustration over how their solutions and services are still perceived by the business community in general. For example, most leading intelligence-based IT solutions providers believe their products can be utilized to provide enterprise-wide information delivery services.
However, the day-to-day reality is that most deployments continue to have a departmental focus and are driven by a particular business problem or information service requirement. The end result of this is that vendors provide only the limited range of information management and delivery services that are requested, and most organizations fail to obtain real value for money from their BI investments. In fact, they often end up duplicating spending and support efforts by buying in and deploying different BI products each time a new information management requirement is identified.
As a result, one of the technology issues that must be addressed if BI usage is to become anything more than just an information tool for power users and technology-savvy business analysts is that of systems rationalization. The average enterprise organization probably has around a dozen or more different BI tools deployed across its key service departments and operating subsidiaries. Each deployed BI system will have been brought in to address a specific requirement, but individually they do not support the way forward or provide the capability to deliver that single version of corporate information that must be available to support the mainstream use of BI-based information services. Therefore, in order to move on and replace a series of BI tools with one or more integrated solutions built around a single information architecture, business and technology decision makers have some hard choices to make.
The individual technology vendors must work harder on their systems justification approaches. From the vendor side this would involve putting together a convincing case that proves that their individual platform solution can be used to deliver a range of enterprise level data capture and information delivery capabilities.
The BI platform is the key technology vehicle for the delivery of enterprise BI services, and as such needs to be capable of delivering a range of products, tools, and services that support information access and management requirements that extend well beyond the point-based needs of individual power users or departments.
The required capabilities should include tools that support most of the following services: data quality, extract transform and load, data storage, data management, metadata management, forecasting, analysis services, query, analytics, enterprise reporting, key performance indicator management, and portal and dashboard delivery services. For the business and technology decision-makers within end-user organizations, the difficult issues will revolve around which BI systems should be removed and convincing each group of users that they can get along without their own personally selected comfort-blankets.
The value add to the business will come from rationalizing the number of systems that need to be supported, cutting back on the disparate range of data repositories that need to be maintained, a general easing of the systems support overheads, and hopefully integrated and consistent enterprise information.
Source: OpinionWire by Butler Group (www.butlergroup.com)