Saturday, September 6, 2008

Personal Jet Packs

In his 2006 book, "The Change Function: Why Some Technologies Take Off and Others Crash and Burn," investment writer Pip Coburn made some predictions on future winners and losers in the marketplace. And the winners are...

  1. Flat Panel Display Televisions
  2. Mobile Enterprise E-Mail
  3. Business Intelligence Software
  4. Satellite Radio

OK, these predictions may seem about as wild as me guessing my son's college will be expensive next year, but since Pip mentions BI, let's hear him out.

Pip writes that BI software "is an antidote for complexity - the greatest curse in the enterprise." While the idea of getting to all of your enterprise data sounds great, Pip says that the high "total perceived pain of adoption," or TPPA, prevents companies from really doing BI. Pip continues:

"Very few of the people who want what business intelligence software provides have ever interfaced with a database for more than a short period and, therefore, have little clue as to how powerful these tools can be. But the culture will steadily shift and education about the power of the tool will expand steadily over the next decade at which point many CEOs will carry a pocket device they can use to query databases all over the world in an integrated, near real-time fashion. The migration from here to there will be powerful. Vendors that make business intelligence simple to the end user will dominate those focused on additional features."

That is all fine and good as long as the future CEO does not try to use his iPodWorldQuery device while strapped into a personal jet pack. Always practice safe flying; just mind-link back to the home robot and let Rosie take care of the BI.

But seriously, Pip does have a good point. Ms. CEO wants to be able to get accurate information right now, presented in a way that is useful for her to make important decisions. She doesn't care where that data resides or in what arcane format it is. She is not going to write some SQL query in her spreadsheet macro to get that information. Instead, she needs to tell the user interface what she wants and let it figure out the howz-its and whatz-its.

We are still waiting for this super user interface that can handle BI requests.

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I am a project-based software consultant, specializing in automating transitions from legacy reporting applications into modern BI/Analytics to leverage Social, Cloud, Mobile, Big Data, Visualizations, and Predictive Analytics using Information Builders' WebFOCUS. Based on scores of successful engagements, I have assembled proven Best Practice methodologies, software tools, and templates.

I have been blessed to work with innovators from firms such as: Ford, FedEx, Procter & Gamble, Nationwide, The Wendy's Company, The Kroger Co., JPMorgan Chase, MasterCard, Bank of America Merrill Lynch, Siemens, American Express, and others.

I was educated at Valparaiso University and the University of Cincinnati, where I graduated summa cum laude. In 1990, I joined Information Builders and for over a dozen years served in regional pre- and post-sales technical leadership roles. Also, for several years I led the US technical services teams within Cincom Systems' ERP software product group and the Midwest custom software services arm of Xerox.

Since 2007, I have provided enterprise BI services such as: strategic advice; architecture, design, and software application development of intelligence systems (interactive dashboards and mobile); data warehousing; and automated modernization of legacy reporting. My experience with BI products include WebFOCUS (vendor certified expert), R, SAP Business Objects (WebI, Crystal Reports), Tableau, and others.