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Posted by James Kobielus on June 9, 2009
In one of my recent tweets, I commented that Forrester has developed a maturity model for enterprise adoption of mashup-style, self-service development of business intelligence (BI) applications. Indeed, we have, and it will appear in my forthcoming Forrester report, “Mighty Mashups: Do-It-Yourself Business Intelligence for the New Economy.”
Another tweeter--an astute, but sadly, non-Forrester BI analyst--scoffed that “BI mashup maturity model” is an oxymoron. Respectfully, I must disagree. Enterprises are adopting self-service BI approaches for many reasons--principally, to cut costs in a tight economy, to unclog the development backlog, and to speed delivery of actionable, targeted intelligence to decision makers. Also, companies are providing users with BI tools to do interactive, deeply dimensional exploration of information pulled from enterprise data warehouses (EDW), marts, cubes, transactional applications, and other systems. Furthermore, organizations everywhere have adopted browser-oriented BI environments that leverage the full Web 2.0 interactivity and collaboration.
Sitting at the convergence of those trends is BI mashup, which Forrester sees as the new paradigm for truly pervasive decision-support systems. What throws off some people is the term “mashup,” which sometimes gets pigeonholed as simply referring to using, say, Google Maps to display geocoded performance metrics and sundry Internet-sourced data in a browser-based dashboard. Yes, BI mashup encompasses that approach to presenting and integrating diverse data, but its application is much broader.
Just as important, BI mashup is not bleeding edge. Rather, BI mashup leverages the in-memory BI clients, semantic virtualization layers, data federation middleware, automated data discovery, and other next-generation BI tools and platforms.
No one vendor or user has yet put together an end-to-end BI environment that is entirely focused on mashup-style self-service development. However, Forrester sees the BI industry converging toward as mashup-oriented architecture over the coming 2-3 years. With that in mind, we sketched out a BI maturity model that encompasses the following four levels (the first 3 of which are represented in case studies in the upcoming report):
As I said, it will take a few years before we see a substantial number of enterprise case studies that implement the pinnacle of collaborative mashup with tight governance. Nevertheless, when you follow the evolution of next-generation solution portfolios from leading BI vendors such as SAP, IBM, Microsoft, and others, it’s clear that self-service user-centric mashup, to varying degrees, is a core theme.
BI mashup has such a strong business case that we’re confident it’s more than simply a “down economy” theme. It will almost certainly grow in importance for information and knowledge management professionals as the economy improves.