Tom Hudock had an interesting post – BI eclipsed by another technology – in which he linked to one of Neil’s great BI 2.0 articles. Tom argued that BI is being eclipsed by search-like interfaces and other more consumer-centric technologies. Like Tom I think that BI has come to mean, rightly or wrongly, reporting and OLAP (along with the necessary supporting infrastructure). I don’t think this is going to go away but I do think we will see this narrow focus eclipsed by a broader one. I think there are three distinct kinds of problems here:
- Very unstructured, non-repeatable problems where knowledge workers and managers must analyze a wide range of information, often aggregated, to make decisions. These will take great advantage of these BI 2.0 technologies and approaches
- Very repeatable, automated problems where enterprise decision management and a focus on decision automation (along with executable analytic models and rules) replace manual decision-making
- Semi-structured decisions where a well defined set of information/reports can be used but where the decision cannot be or perhaps should not be automated. Here is where traditional BI reporting and OLAP thrive.
So I don’t see EDM or BI 2.0 replacing existing BI for all problems but complementing them and extending the value of a company’s information to solve more and different problems.