I've been hinting at some points for quite a long time, without really spelling them out in written form. So let's fix that. I believe:
I'm agnostic about what the UI would be. Sounds going off on your mobile phone? Email on your mobile device? An app more like a chat window? Something more like a mobile dashboard? Whatever it is, false positives would really screw up your work day.
Classical enterprise dashboards suffer from a similarly fundamental problem -- dashboard technology is optimized for a screwed-up enterprise analytic methodology. That is:
Perhaps vendors don't try to provide strong metrics management because doing so might lead to -- gasp! -- more than "one version of the truth." If so, such thinking is regrettably misguided. Examples of formulas -- i.e., metrics -- that should and can not be cast in stone* include:
It's not that there shouldn't be preferred or default metrics for these quantities. Rather, my point is that individuals should be allowed to:
*What kind of decision that is of course depends on the specifics of the case. If only one of two competing metrics says you should bother giving extra care to a specific customer, the answer is easy - you give it. In other cases, an actual meeting or other conversation may be in order to decide what to do.
A metric is just a function. To offer BI users the flexibility I want, it should be very easy to use these functions as inputs into other, custom functions. I.e., I'm talking about something with the flexibility of a stripped down Excel, although the UI would be more like that for a rules engine. And if you think about it, that's exactly the same functionality needed to personalize your alerts and weed out false positives.
One last point -- what I'm calling for could greatly increase the BI performance burden, perhaps even by three orders of magnitude. Well, that's what we have all this great new super price-performance analytic database technology for. And anyhow the throughput hit won't come overnight. It will be interesting to see where the boundaries end up between DBMS and inside-the-BI-tool analytic processing. But overall, the analytic DBMS industry -- and the hardware vendors backing them up -- should be able to handle anything the BI vendors throw at them.