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Next Generation BI: current state and changing product assumptions


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Short talk on the current state of BI products, changing assumptions about use, and the new design points, with the goal of changing things you consider in an evaluation. Missed attributing the last slide on software features and user success (my variation) to the excellent Kathy Sierra.

The webcast with full audio and demo by Tableau is archived at

Published in: Technology

Next Generation BI: current state and changing product assumptions

  1. 1. The Next Generation of BI How will it impact you? Mark Madsen October 13, 2010
  2. 2. The world is changing The world is changing Always available Always‐on Everywhere Interactive Real‐time How organizations and  individuals interact is  changing as well.
  3. 3. Welcome to the future of BI Is it so much different today?
  4. 4. Delivering information visually is not so new Some visualization books, 90‐100 years old
  5. 5. Change is the Only Constant This was your father’s  Oldsmobile: Computerized innovation Greenbar!
  6. 6. Change is the Only Constant Personal computerized  innovation: Greenbar…  on a screen! aka, your Oldsmobile
  7. 7. Change is the Only Constant The latest Oldsmobile: Greenbar, on a screen… in a browser! Look how far we’ve come.
  8. 8. Change is the Only Constant Let’s put it on a mobile phone! Innovation through  reapplication of the same  idea eventually fails to pay  off because accumulated  differences in context are  meaningful.
  9. 9. Commoditization! “There is no reason anyone would want a computer in their home.” Ken Olson, CEO of DEC, 1977 “…by 2008 we will be producing one billion transistors for every man, woman and child on earth” Semiconductor Industry Association, 2007 Meet your new data warehouse
  10. 10. The consumerization of IT means innovation from  the outside, just like the 1980s.
  11. 11. Unexpected Consequences of Data Volumes
  12. 12. Unexpected Consequences of Data Volumes This and commodity pressure are the real business  drivers for more advanced analysis techniques.
  13. 13. Clustering + Visualization + Query = Explanation
  14. 14. Mountains of data hiding signal, new UI  expectations and cheap cycles mean new visual  interfaces are both possible and expected.
  15. 15. Reality check: what’s the user experience here?
  16. 16. What does usability focus on? We moved this button to the right because it’s used most often!
  17. 17. Reality, meet expectation.
  18. 18. “When technology delivers basic needs, user experience dominates” Don Norman
  19. 19. “Better experiences, not more features.” Roland Rust
  20. 20. The problem: The product is designed under the expectation  that it’s an important part of people’s work. The reality is that most users spend less than 15  minutes per day using a BI tool, and more people  don’t use one at all. Key design assumptions are wrong, and that it is  the real reason for the failure of self‐service BI.
  21. 21. Example: What’s the most common BI activity?
  22. 22. How Does BI Address Findability? Taxonomies aka Categories implemented as Folders
  23. 23. Architecture of Participation, giving gets Where are my report folders?
  24. 24. Social architectures in  web 2.0 are changing our  software like mobile  phones changed the  telephone industry. Web 1.0 Web 2.0
  25. 25. The invisible Crowd BI products are still rooted in timesharing design models
  26. 26. Findability and  collaborative /  interaction  features are the  most important  and most ignored  aspects of the BI  environment. They are not  bolt‐on features.
  27. 27. Technology frames for BI BI as reports BI as ad‐hoc query BI as power tools for analysis BI as support for another analytical process BI as exploratory tools BI as a domain application BI as alerting and exception detection BI as information delivery (small data in context) Many tools, not one. Use is dependent on the scenario. These do not take the larger picture of collaboration and  interaction into account.
  28. 28. New BI design point: context and point of use Information use is diverse and varies based on context: ▪ Get a quick answer ▪ Solve a one-off problem ▪ Make repetitive decisions ▪ Use data in routine processes ▪ Make complex decisions ▪ Choose a course of action ▪ Convince others to take action BI standardization is for IT, not for the end user.
  29. 29. What’s Happening in the BI Industry? The big stack / app vendors bought the top end of the market. Very little innovative work has been done since then, nor was there  much from these vendors for several years prior to acquisition.
  30. 30. BI Tools Also Need New Capabilities Embedding BI within  applications ▪ UI embedding ▪ Full embedding Event‐based integration Feeding BI data to  applications: services, not  SQL, may be desired Custom UI code may be preferable  to a BI tool
  31. 31. Two BI usage models, one causes problems Demand driven • Users ask for current data • Most BI tools work this way • Harder to adapt these tools to event-driven models Event driven • System takes action based on data, e.g. alerts, rule engines • May not have (or need) an end user interface • Need understanding of decision & action process for this model
  32. 32. Different Data and Usage Patterns Be prepared for changed  assumptions regarding BI: • Strategy and practices change  more frequently, particularly  in marketing. • This means data sources  change frequently, as well as  information needs. • Much newer data use is like  experimental science, and  unlike the read‐only BI usage  model.
  33. 33. Old style New style Standardized tool, 1 size Many tools, custom fit Kitchen sink Specific functions Big central applications Big central platform, small distributed applications Controlled process Get out of the way Force users Attract users
  34. 34. Focus on the important features BI is a mature market. Beware of feature creep. User Productivty & Happiness I’m kicking ass! Where’s the manual? Why can’t I find that transform option? This tool is great! I can’t believe this *@%! cost a million dollars. Yay, they finally added a feature I need! It’s ok but kinda limited Despair Number of Product Features Third Nature, January 2008 Mark Madsen Slide 34
  35. 35. And now for something completely different
  36. 36. Creative Commons Thanks to the people who made their images available via creative commons: anne hathaway.jpg - laptop face.jpg - teapot.jpg - Girl on phone - motionless in crowd.jpg - well town hall - cadillac ranch line.jpg - febo amsterdam.jpg - sand_beach_tide2.jpg - baby birthday.jpg - baby_with_lemon.jpg - March 2009 Mark R. Madsen Slide 36
  37. 37. About the Presenter Mark Madsen is president of Third Nature, a technology research and consulting firm focused on business intelligence, data integration and data management. Mark is an award-winning author, architect and CTO whose work has been featured in numerous industry publications. Over the past ten years Mark received awards for his work from the American Productivity & Quality Center, TDWI, and the Smithsonian Institute. He is an international speaker, a contributing editor at Intelligent Enterprise, and manages the open source channel at the Business Intelligence Network. For more information or to contact Mark, visit