Next gen of metadata driven BI apps

We all struggle with complexity of designing, building and maintaining BI apps. Why? Among many other reasons, the simplest one is that there's just too many components involved. Just to name a few

  • Data sourcing
  • Data extraction
  • Data integration
  • Data cleansing
  • Data aggregation
  • Data modeling (star schemas, cubes)
  • Metrics management
  • Queries
  • Reports
  • Dashboards
  • Alerts
  • Delivery (portals, schedulers, emails, etc)

For years there were many attempts to automate some of these steps via metadata. So rather than than coding source to target SQL transformations or DDL for DW generation vendors came up with, what I know call "1st generation" metadata driven BI tools, such as

  • ETL tools where metadata auto-generated SQL scripts for data extraction, loading and transformation
  • BI tools where metadata auto-generated SQL for queries
  • Data modeling tools where metadata auto-generated logical data models and DDL for physical data models

But, the "2nd generation" metadata driven BI apps (note apps vs tools now) do much more. For example, they:

  • Use metadata to generate multi vendor apps (like BalancedInsight, Kalido and BIReady do), and having a single place where changes can be made
  • Use metadata to generate all three (ETL SQL, BI SQL, DW DDL, like Cognos, Wherescape, BIReady do), and having a single place where changes to all 3 can be made
  • Using metadata to generate report layouts (like Cognos does)
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Forrester Tweet Jam Session: Top Challenges Facing Customer Management Professionals In 2010 (#crmjam)

Forrester analysts will host a Tweet Jam on March 24, 2010, from 1:00 – 3:00 PM USA ET (6 to 8 PM GMT) to answer questions from business and IT executives about the top challenges they face in orchestrating customer-facing business processes to drive top-line growth. During this interactive Jam session, Forrester analysts will share results of our latest research into the topics of: customer experience management, CRM technologies and vendor trends, social media, and business process management.

Key questions we will tackle during this Tweet Jam include:

  1. What are the key trends you need to take into account in planning CRM initiatives in 2010?
  2. How do you know if you are delivering a differentiated customer-experience, and does it make a difference to the bottom line?
  3. Social CRM: The real deal, or blogger hype?
  4. How do CRM vendor solutions stack-up, and which ones are really delivering results?
  5. Does business process management (BPM) “lean-thinking” have a place in CRM strategies?
  6. Drowning in (bad) customer data: What to do about it?
  7. How to take advantage of next-generation Business Intelligence tools for deeper customer insights?
  8. Who should lead your customer management process improvement efforts?
  9. What are the best ways to drive user adoption of CRM technologies?
  10. What change management strategies and skills are needed to succeed?
  11. What are the right metrics for success?
  12. CRM pitfalls: What are they, and are there new ones to worry about?
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SAP Changes Continue – 10 Predictions for 2010

After the recent board changes the strategy will change too

After the recent board changes at SAP the message we could read in most news was like ‘new board – old strategy’. Along with the board changes SAP did not announce (yet) any significant strategic changes. But what good is it to change the board and leave everything else as is?

The recent SAP board changes are just the visible tip of the iceberg of much deeper changes SAP will and has to go through to renew itself as a leading IT vendor. Below are 10 predictions for changes in SAP’s strategic direction I expect within the next 10+ months:

1.    More SAP Board Changes Will Come

Additional board changes will further strengthen the product & technology focus and competence within the SAP board. See also Forrester’s blog on the recent SAP board changes: SAP CEO Resigns – Long Live The Co-CEOs

2.    Business ByDesign Will Get Back Into SAP’s Strategic Center

Business ByDesign will become again the corner stone of SAP’s growth strategy and the successful introduction will mark a ‘make it or break it’ milestone for SAP.

3.    SAP Announces The Next-Generation ERP

SAP will announce a next-generation ERP solution to regain leadership in its core business area and it will likely be based on the ByDesign platform.

4.    SAP Changes Its Cloud Strategy

SAP will rework its whole On-Demand strategy and will unify and align all components based on the ByDesign platform. See also Forrester’s recent blog on SAP’s On-Demand strategy: SAP Is Skydiving Into The Clouds.

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The ROI of High-Quality Decision-Driving Gut Feel

Decisions are a very human investment of attention to a problem, and gut feel--the stream of intuition, impulse, memory, and emotion behind all behavior--is the impetus driving every decision that people make

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11 Meanings of Why-My-BI-Application-Is-Not-Useful

When a user of a BI application complains about the application not being useful - something that I hear way too often - what does that really mean? I can count at least 11 possible meanings, and potential reasons:

1. The data is not there, because

  • It's not in any operational sources, in which case the organization needs to implement a new app, a new process or get that data from an outside source
  • It is in an operational source, but not accessible via the BI application.

The data is there, but

2. It's not usable as is, because

  • There are no common definitions, common metadata
  • The data is of poor quality
  • The data model is wrong, or out of date

3. I can't find it, because I

  • Can't find the right report
  • Can't find the right metadata
  • Can't find the data
  • I don't have access rights to the data I am looking for

4. I don't know how to use my application, because I

  • Was not trained
  • Was trained, but the application is not intuitive, user friendly enough

5. I can't/don't have time do it myself - because I just need to run my business, not do BI !!! - and

  • I don't have support staff
  • I am low on IT priority list

6. It takes too long to

  • Create a report/query
  • Run/execute a report/query
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On The Convergence Of BI And BPM

When business processes finally become intelligent

Over the past several months I have done a lot of research on the BI market, the trends and the vendor landscape. There is a clear indication that BI solutions are becoming more sophisticated, more intelligent and – more integrated into other applications to enhance the performance of the application supported business processes.

Very recently now, in discussions with BPM vendors like IDS Scheer, HandySoft and many others it became very eminent that from the other side, BPM solutions are moving steadily into the field of Business Intelligence too. The world of BPM and BI solutions are converging to bring intelligent business processes to the market – eventually. However, today we are still some steps away from this picture and the convergence of BPM and BI will likely proceed in smaller steps are outlined in the below BI-BPM convergence model.

Picture2 
  

Today several BPM vendors have actively integrated business intelligence capabilities into their solutions. Larger ones like IDS Scheer have developed their own analytics while smaller vendors like HandySoft are using OpenSorce components offered by JasperSoft and other OpenSource BI vendors. The integration offers users new and consistent insights along the whole business process. A user in this context means both:

a) Business users that are part of the business process get access to relevant information and reports that increase the efficiency of the process, and

b) Business process owners get an insightful analytics of the process metadata to be able to further enhance and streamline the process.

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How Do We Define a "BI Vendor"

My colleague, Holger Kisker, just posted a very insightful blog on the convergence of BI and BPM technologies. Yes, Holger, BPM vendors definitely have some BI capabilities. And so do some search vendors like Attivio, Endeca and Microsoft FAST Search. And so do some middleware vendors like TIBCO, Vitria and Software AG. And so do rules vendors like FairIsaac, PegaSystems. Should I go on? I have a list of hundreds of vendors that "say" they are a BI vendor.

But it’s not that simple. First of all, let’s define BI. In the last BI Wave we defined BI as “a set of methodologies, processes, architectures, and technologies that transform raw data into meaningful and useful information used to enable more effective strategic, tactical, and operational insights and decision-making”. To provide all these capabilities a vendor should have most of the necessary components such as data integration, data quality, master data management, metadata management, data warehousing, OLAP, reporting, querying, dashboarding, portal, and many, many others. In this broader sense only full BI stack vendors such as IBM, Oracle, SAP, Microsoft, SAS, TIBCO and Information Builders qualify.

Even if we define BI more narrowly as the reporting and analytics layer of the broader BI stack, we still want to include capabilities such as 11 ones we use to rate BI vendors in the BI Waves:

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Customer Experience Increases the Bottom-Line and Social Media Makes Changing the Customer Experience Easier

91% of executives say customer experiences are critical or very important to their businesses, nearly 5,000 consumers prefer better customers experiences over lower prices and better customer experiences drive higher revenue and profits,—according to Forrester Research .

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The ROI of High-Quality Decision Management Practices

Here now is the broader conceptual model that I promised in the prior blog post. As I said, I built conceptual hooks in my decision support ROI model to address broader requirements for decision automation and decision management.

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The ROI of High-Quality Decision Support Infrastructure

I’m developing a return on investment (ROI) calculator for data warehousing (DW) appliances, using the Forrester Total Economic Impact methodology.

 

At the heart of that is a conceptual ROI model that can be applied to any decision support infrastructure, not just DW appliances (though indeed high-quality decision support is the raison d’etre for DW appliances).

 

That said, and not wanting to bog down forthcoming syndicated TEI study with a lot of this conceptual material, here are the core principles of this conceptual model , plus a discussion of how, net-net, they map to the key benefits of a DW appliance:

 

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