For a long time, BI almost appeared to stay immune to changes. Applications got better, breakthroughs here and there, but roughly same players, same strategy, same approach.
2 visionaries were on the foundation of what I call now "Classical BI" - Kimball and Inmon. They taught us what a datawarehouse is. And damn, they were right about it.
I've been working with BI for a few years now. A couple of years back, I'd probably have written that I was working with "opensource BI". It was, by itself, a differentiating factor. It still makes a difference to me: means I'll be able to hack around it, I won't be trapped in a code I can't access to, and will ultimately allow me to do my job better.
But I don't say that anymore. It's irrelevant. Fortunately the market is starting to realize that the fact that opensource isn't a benefit by itself. It will have a more affordable entry point but in the end the only thing that matters is if what's implemented allow users to make correct decisions based on the information taken from the BI system.
My passion is the visualization layer of BI. Usually known as dashboards, I think of them as much more than that, as the main interface between users and *their* data, and more than numbers they need to transmit an emotion, create a bond. It's not enough if the numbers are right, there has to be more than that. The user must feel comfortable using it, has to enjoy it. It's all about User eXperience.
The immediate conclusion is that users couldn't care less about where the data comes from. We don't need datawarehouses anymore. We need *whatever* allows us to provide that rich experience. And sometimes the classic datawarehouses are not the best approach.
Exciting times for IT. Lot of buzzwords. Lots of new technology. New ways of accessing information. All the hype about SQL vs noSQL and the bigdata movement. For me there's one clear winner: All of us. We now have more tools available to choose the right one for the job.
Don't just settle for getting the numbers right. Also try to get a smile from your user.
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