"Search and BI" sounds boring. "Structured and unstructured content" is too conceptual to get you excited. Will the "Googlization of BI" grab your attention? "Seven feet of snow coming your way!"? (Okay, NJ is getting only a puny 12 inches, just enough to make me dread flying tomorrow.)As I write in a new BIScorecard report on BI/search integration, I suspect that the Googlization of BI will have as profound an impact on BI as the iPod has had on the music industry. This whole integration is still emerging. As editor Doug Henschen points out, customer references are hard to come by. This is not surprising to me as vendors only recently began shipping solutions, and there is still much industry education that needs to happen.
Read Seth Grimes blog, though, and you know the problem too well: your company built a data warehouse and has hundreds, even thousands of reports, but even sophisticated users can't find what they need. Search-enabled BI goes a long way to solving this issue.
The other big issue that Search-enabled BI can solve is engaging casual users. This is the part of putting a simple interface, like Google, in a manager's hands to enter a phrase "Open Orders Oswego, NY" to have a query built on the fly that tells the manager exactly how much of a mess the snow there will create on the rest of the supply chain. No more overwhelming interface, days of training or long lists of columns and tables!
Even though vendor solutions are still emerging, you as the BI customer need to start preparing now in a number of ways. The most valuable step you can take today is to clean up your business meta data, providing end users with meaningful descriptions and explanations of metrics and columns in the data warehouse. Fail to do this, and you make the value of Search-enabled BI tools less effective.One thing is clear: When you have four Intelligent Enterprise bloggers blogging on a similar topic, it's important! My fear though, in looking at Web site logs, is that we're not yet grabbing your attention on just how important this topic is. "Structured and unstructured content" is too conceptual to get you excited. Will the "Googlizing of BI" grab your attention?