Software // Information Management
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5/31/2005
04:30 PM
Ted Kemp
Ted Kemp
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The 'Standard' Marketing Ploy

One BI platform for the whole business? Don't count on getting there any time soon.

BI vendors increasingly tout themselves as the new "standard" for this customer or that one. I've even experienced multiple cases where vendors have told me that client X has "standardized" on their "solution," but then when I gave client X a call, I found out that well, no, X has cut down the number of BI platforms it uses, but there's no real "standard."

Still, it's true that organizations of all sizes are trying to reduce the number of vendors whose tools they use. Simpler is easier, right? But are we going to see companies slash down to one BI platform for the whole business?

Not any time soon, according to Keith Gile, an analyst from Forrester Research. "Those companies that have 15 tools need to get down to five, and that will take two to three years," he says in a story we ran recently. Even database platforms have yet to be standardized in many organizations. "Does it matter that you have one database, with the interoperability options we have today?" Gile asks. He goes on to answer his own question: He suggests getting down to between one and three databases "to solve 80 percent of your problems."

Gile points out that many vendors do, in fact, have deep enough capability at this point that they can "entertain a conversation" about being a standard BI platform. But more often than not, such talk amounts to little more than software-marketing hyperbole.

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