Software // Information Management
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4/4/2008
12:34 PM
Neil Raden
Neil Raden
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BI and Technology: Part II

Thanks to all of you who responded to my last post with thoughtful comments. Rather than respond to each in a Lincoln-Douglas style debate, as Kurt Schlegel suggests, let me shift the discussion a little. Instead of arguing that technology alone can't move BI along, I'd rather explore the issue of what can...

Thanks to all of you who responded to my last post with thoughtful comments. Rather than respond to each in a Lincoln-Douglas style debate, as Kurt Schlegel suggested, let me shift the discussion a little. Instead of arguing that technology alone can't move BI along, I'd rather explore the issue of what can.

To be effective, BI has to focus on simplicity of operation to achieve pervasiveness in the organization and beyond it. The model is the Consumer Web, which provides only the necessary presentation to perform the tasks at hand, and relies on open standards and loosely coupled services to perform the functions, which can be reconfigured dynamically. In the same way the users of the Consumer Web are willing to pay little or nothing directly (except for purchases), the cost of BI has to drop drastically from expensive, front-loaded perpetual licenses to pay-as-you-go on demand schemes.In Blink, Malcolm Gladwell makes the distinction between how people initially react to something and how they may ultimately feel about it. Initial reactions to the television shows "The Mary Tyler Moore Show" and "All in the Family" were very negative, but as history reveals, people didn't hate the shows, they were just stunned by how different they were.

The conclusion is that first impressions shouldn't be taken at face value - they need interpretation. But this is the weakness of technology deployments in organizations, especially in the field of BI and analytics where adoption can be seen as somewhat optional. After the initial rollout and gratuitous training, people are left to their own devices and first impressions. Clearly, a program to move people past first impressions to a more reality-based assessment of the utility of analytics is needed.

The solution is to provide the right approach and allow people in organizations to finally be able to do the work that they've been told they should do - act independently and collaboratively, move with swiftness by being informed and leverage the wealth of technology that is available today to assist them. Technology and service providers must educate themselves on the realities of problem-solving and decision-making and start to deal with the situation as it really is, not as their current tools and approaches presume it to be. That requires jettisoning the complex, layered architectures of their products and methodologies and allowing knowledge workers to finally operate at the level that they are capable of.

So, does technology play a role? Of course it does, but it isn't the only factor and it isn't the most important one. At the time when use of the Internet exploded, we would now view the technology in place then as primitive.Thanks to all of you who responded to my last post with thoughtful comments. Rather than respond to each in a Lincoln-Douglas style debate, as Kurt Schlegel suggests, let me shift the discussion a little. Instead of arguing that technology alone can't move BI along, I'd rather explore the issue of what can...

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