Excel As A BI Tool? Not So Fast!

Borisevelson By Boris Evelson

Ever since our latest BI Wave was published a couple of weeks ago, I keep hearing comments about why we have not included evaluation of Excel as a BI tool. For example, Rajan Chandras, one of the contributing editors to the Intelligent Enterprise, poses really good arguments in his recent blog on why, when and how Excel can and should be used as a BI tool. Excellent question, everyone!

  • As I wrote in my very first report when I joined Forrester, Ouch! Get Ready - Spreadsheets Are Here To Stay For Business Intelligence: "Spreadsheets - the most widely used business intelligence (BI) tool - are a permanent fixture in enterprises because no other analytical application outperforms them in flexibility, ease of use, and ubiquity."
  • Furthermore, I consider Excel a major component of BI Workspaces: BI Without Borders.
  • And last, but not least, we do place a heavy emphasis on Excel as a delivery vehicle or UI for all BI environments in our Wave.
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Making Green IT Palatable For The Business: Should You Call Green IT, “Green IT”?

Dougwashburn In many of my recent interactions with both enterprise IT end users and vendors, the notion of calling Green IT something other than “Green IT” occurs with fair consistency. Some of the variations to Green IT that I’ve come across purposely call out an environmental agenda, i.e. Greener IT, Sustainable IT, and Eco-Efficient IT. While others are purely business such as Efficient IT, Energy Efficient IT, or Lean IT.

This very debate came up during a panel I hosted at last week’s Next Generation Data Center Conference, and it reminds me of a book I came across called the “The Sneaky Chef: How To Hide Healthy Foods In Kid's Favorite Meals.” The premise is that parents can encourage healthy eating habits in the children by “hiding” healthy foods in meals that kids already love — without their kids’ knowledge. For example, brownies spiked with spinach or chocolate pudding laced with avocado.

So how should you decide to message your Green IT initiative? My standard response is that it depends on your audience:

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Here We Go Again: WLAN Acquisitions Continue

Here we go again, the most recent in a rash of acquisitions, but only the second of an infrastructure vendor this year as HP  today announced its intent to acquire the Colubris Networks.

Why this is good for both sides:

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Is The “Green” Data Center The Next Generation Data Center?

Dougwashburn Yes, but the shade of green will vary. While it’s clear that the next generation data center will be an energy efficient data center, incorporating other green data center features — from reduced water usage, to sustainable site planning, to sourcing IT gear manufactured in a more eco-responsible fashion — are not likely to happen at the same pace.

Why? Reduced energy consumption in the data center offers tangible and immediate environmental and economic savings, but also goes hand-in-hand with alleviating out of space and out of power concerns — challenges, that for now, trump purely green motivations.

At last week’s annual Next Generation Data Center Conference held in San Francisco, I had the opportunity to discuss the role of “green” in the data center by moderating a panel on the topic of “Greening of the Data Center — Practical Steps That Can Be Implemented Today With Real World Savings.” The panel consisted of major industry hitters — including Jack Pouchet of Emerson Power Network, Joe Prisco of IBM, Michael Patterson of Intel, Christian Belady of Microsoft, and John Pflueger of Dell — with all panelists having a stake in enacting green and or energy efficiency strategies within their organizations. Here are some key takeaways from the session:

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Making (WiMax) News

Forrester's take on the status of WiMax as an enterprise service - based on a recently published report I worked on with my colleague Lisa Pierce - is being discussed in Network World's "Newsmaker Of The Week" podcast, where I discuss where WiMax is today in terms of a network build-out and service availability, its potential uses in the enterprise and its (lack of) potential to eclipse Wi-Fi in the enterprise.

It's a short but informative piece that is a good digest of the report; it goes live today here.

By Chris Silva

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Microsoft and BearingPoint see space to play in the Enterprise GRC market

Chris McClean

Earlier this week in a joint press release, Microsoft and BearingPoint announced the new BearingPoint Enterprise Governance, Risk, and Compliance product offering. Ok... it will be a while before the more veteran enterprise GRC vendors start really losing sleep over this deal. But BearingPoint continues to be a top risk consulting firm, and Microsoft’s reach through the business user community will be an attractive benefit for compliance and risk professionals trying to get hundreds or thousands of staff members to contribute to the GRC program. There’s potential here for sure.

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Traditional Disaster Recovery Services Are Dead

Stephanie Balaouras

If you still subscribe to fixed site recovery services using shared IT infrastructure from the likes of HP, IBM BCRS, or SunGard, among others, you will quickly become a dinosaur in the next 1 to 2 years.

These types of shared infrastructure services involve lengthy restores from tape and a recovery time objective of 72 hours, at best. Plus, you'll be lucky if you recover at all because chances are, you've had trouble scheduling a test with your service provider and it's been a LONG time since the last one, if indeed you’ve ever tested.

72 hours recovery just doesn't cut it anymore. And frankly, understanding your provider's oversubscription ratio to shared infrastructure to determine the risk of multiple invocations, or attempting to negotiate exclusions zones and availability guarantees is a time suck. Most companies are either taking DR back in-house or, if they still rely on a DR service provider, they are using dedicated infrastructure.

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Siemens-Gores, A Winning Formula?

I’ve been doing a fair amount of work with Siemens of late, and have the chance to pick the brains of their management team in informal surroundings, so I certainly know how delighted they all are that at long last Siemens AG has done a deal, but will the deal actually change anything?

I spoke to the CEO Thomas Zimmerman on 30 July, the day after the announcement. I asked him what would be different under the recently announced JV with The Gores Group that Siemens Enterprise Communications could not do on its own. He talked around speed of investment decision making, channel to market flexibility and easier headcount management.

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