User BI applications – think before you go for it


Flask Data provides a one-stop cloud subscription for EDC, data management and statistics.

According to research by Gartner: “IT won’t have much of a role in the emerging business-intelligence technology as the tools make it easier for users to build their own analytic applications. To address users’ increasing independence, Gartner suggests that IT departments incorporate the new technologies into the standard BI architecture, communicate which performance measures should be used and create a governance strategy.”

I like the part about a governance strategy.

Gartner is basically predicting that BI will go the way of user-generated content.

This is not going to happen.

True – the best applications are not coming from the mainstream vendors like Oracle and IBM (who bought Cognos) and avoiding vendor-lockin is a good thing. Independence and vendor-neutrality from Open Source BI applications like Pentaho are important advantages for a customer.  But – you can be sure that IBM is not selling Pentaho or third-party BI applications when they have in-house expertise and products.

There is also the cost of acquisition, maintenance and security.  An Oracle Applications user will have much more leverage with with Oracle for purchasing Oracle BI Applications then with a third-party. I don’t buy in to Gartner’s prediction that users will roll their own BI, simply because of the  data security issues. A tech-savvy user could install Pentaho on his Ubuntu desktop, but he has to download huge quantities of data, understand the schemas and calculations and then do the  ETL processing. This is a huge vulnerability for data loss and an organization would have to be insane to allow users to roll their own BI in this fashion.

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