In my recent BI Belt Tightening For Tough Economic Times document I explored a few low-cost alternatives to traditional, mainstream, and typically relatively expensive Business Intelligence (BI) tools. While some of these alternatives indeed were a fraction of a cost of a characteristic large enterprise BI software license, there were even fewer truly zero cost options. But there were some. For example, you can:
Leverage and use no-cost bundled BI software already in-house.Small departments and workgroups may be able to leverage BI software that comes bundled at no additional cost with BI appliances, database management systems (DBMSes), and application licenses. You can consider using these few free licenses from Actuate, IBM Cognos, Information Builders, Jaspersoft, Microsoft, MicroStrategy, Panorama, Pentaho, and SAP Business Objects for additional functions such as testing, QA, and prototyping. While these few free licenses are just a drop in the bucket in a typical large enterprise BI license requirements, do look around and don’t waste money on BI products you may already have.
I am writing this blog on my way back home from www.himss.org show in Chicago, while a tingly chill crawls down my back. It’s a creepy feeling of déjà vu. Even worse, it feels like the movie Groundhog Day where the main character keeps waking up on the same day, same date, never able to get to tomorrow. Everything he was able to achieve during the day is erased, and he has to do it over, and over, and over again. This was the feeling I got as I walked the show floor and kept asking myself questions such as:
Where are the open technology standards?
Where is the transparency?
Where is the common sense that business requirements, not vendors, dictate the rules?
I always predicted that Open Source BI has to reach critical mass before it becomes a viable alternative for large enterprise BI platforms. All the individual components (a mixture of Open Source BI projects and commercial vendor wrappers around them) are slowly but surely catching up to their bigger closed source BI brothers. Talend and Kettle (a Pentaho led project) offer data integration components like ETL, Mondrian and Palo (SourceForge projects) have OLAP servers, BIRT (an Eclipse project), Actuate, Jaspersoft and Pentaho have impressive reporting components, Infobright innovates with columnar dbms well suited for BI, and productized offerings from consulting companies like European based Engineering Ingegneria Informatica – SpagoBI – offer some Open Source BI component integration.
However, even large closed source BI vendors that acquired multiple BI components over the years still struggle with full, seamless component integration. So what chance do Open Source BI projects and vendors with independent leadership structure and often varying priorities have for integrating highly critical BI components such as metadata, data access layers, GUI, common prompting/sorting/ranking/filtering approaches, drill-throughs from one product to another, etc? Today, close to none. However, a potential consolidation of such products and technologies under one roof can indeed create a highly needed critical mass and give these individual components a chance to grow into large enterprise quality BI solutions.
I always predicted that Open Source BI has to reach critical mass before it becomes a viable alternative for a large enterprise BI platform. All the individual components (a mixture of Open Source BI projects and commercial vendor wrappers around them) are slowly but surely catching up to their bigger, closed source BI brothers. Talend and Kettle (a Pentaho led project) offer data integration components like ETL, Mondrian and Palo (SourceForge projects) have OLAP servers, BIRT (an Eclipse project), Actuate, Jaspersoft and Pentaho have impressive reporting components, Infobright innovates with columnar dbms well suited for BI, and productized offerings from consulting companies like European based Engineering IngegneriaInformatica – SpagoBI – offer some Open Source BI component integration.
I had an amazing client experience the other day. I searched long and hard for a client with flawless, perfect, 100% efficient and effective BI environment and applications. My criteria were tough and that's why it took me so long (I've been searching for as long as I've been in the BI business, almost 30 years). These applications had to be plug & play, involve little or no manual setup, be 100% automated, incorporate all relevant data and content, and allow all end users to self service every single BI requirement. Imagine my utter and absolute amazement when I finally stumbled on one.
The most remarkable part was that this was a very typical large enterprise. It grew over many years by multiple acquisitions, and as a result had many separate and disconnected front and back office applications, running on various different platforms and architectures. Its senior management suffered from a typical myopic attitude, mostly based on immediate gratification, caused by compensation structure that rewarded only immediate tangible results, and did not put significant weight and emphasis on long term goals and plans. Sounds familiar? If you haven't worked for one of these enterprises, the color of the sky in your world is probably purple.
Okay, I have to admit it: “My name is Clay and I am a political junkie.” They say the first step to recovery is admitting that you have a problem. I am also a policy geek and I love watching C-SPAN.By now, I’m sure you’re wondering “What the heck does this have to do with I&KM pros?”
I believe last Wednesday’s House Hearing on Madoff and the SEC should be required viewing for all I&KM Pros – particularly for those of you that want to understand how BPM can keep you from getting fired.
If you caught the hearing in its entirety on C-SPAN (I had a front-row seat on my couch, thanks to being taken down by a nasty flu-like virus last Wednesday – this will become relevant a little later), you saw the whistleblower, Harry Markopoulos, rip into the SEC, FINRA, and other industry regulators. Mr. Markopoulos raised numerous red flags to the SEC about Madoff’s Ponzi scheme over an eight year period.
Pulling no punches, Mr. Markopolos called the SEC "incompetent" and FINRA "crooks" to their faces – senior representatives from both organizations were in the audience listening to the hearing and waiting for their opportunity to respond. Following Mr. Markopoulos’s testimony, I thought "Hey, its time to get some popcorn, the fight’s on!" Then I recalled why I was home in the first place – sick, right?