Software // Information Management
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2/20/2009
09:31 AM
Cindi Howson
Cindi Howson
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The Answer to Pervasive BI: the Fed

"Mainstream BI," "pervasive BI" and "BI for the masses" have been the rallying cry for BI vendors for nearly a decade now. Some thought Microsoft could do it with an Excel interface. Others think Google will be part of the answer. I am looking to the Fed.

"Mainstream BI," "pervasive BI" and "BI for the masses" have been the rallying cry for BI vendors for nearly a decade now. Some thought Microsoft could do it with an Excel interface. Others think Google will be part of the answer. I am looking to the Fed.

No, it's not that I am on the bandwagon for the stimulus being the answer to all the world's woes. However, when President Obama first mentioned a website (recovery.gov) as a way of ensuring full disclosure for stimulus spending, I got as excited as anyone can amid this economic crisis.My vision for recovery.gov is that it will showcase the best of BI. It will be engaging, simple, and insightful. I'm hoping for a Google-like interface where I can start with a request such as "education spending in NJ." An appealing chart (rather than a dense page of numbers) will show me how the money has been spent. It will give me the necessary context, relative to other states, and to prior years. And of course I can drill down to my individual county.

My envisioned recovery.gov will not only provide the monitoring capabilities, but also facilitate insight to action by giving me contact details for whom to appeal to when I think the spending looks unfair, wasteful, or just plain wrong.

Am I visioning too much? Maybe. But I hope the best BI tool vendors and consultancies are aggressively vying for this opportunity. Many eyes will be on recovery.gov, and I can well imagine the marketing bang a "Powered by BI Vendor X" could bring if this site and application are well designed. Of course, if it's boring, static, and a flop, then the Fed will be in the same situation as many organizations struggling with BI adoption.

Back to the present: I head to Las Vegas this weekend for TDWI's Winter Conference. The "BI Bake Off" course I facilitate this round includes Microsoft, SAP BusinessObjects, and MicroStrategy. I expect to get glimpses of some of their latest versions as well as chance to pose the tough questions, "how much of the downsizing is in the BI business?" The upside to this down economy is that my airfare is an all time low of only $250, 1/3 of the normal price. With travel costs so low, I hope you are taking the opportunity to fulfill your New Year's resolutions of "investing in you!"

Regards, Cindi Howson"Mainstream BI," "pervasive BI" and "BI for the masses" have been the rallying cry for BI vendors for nearly a decade now. Some thought Microsoft could do it with an Excel interface. Others think Google will be part of the answer. I am looking to the Fed.

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