Business Intelligence 2.0

For me the march from Gen-X to Gen-2.0 has been with lots of disarray. There was a mad rush in the industry where even a single click on the network, would bring the buzz word 2.0. Pondering whether 2.0 is only about Rich Internet Applications(RIA’s) with loads of jazzy stuffs on User Interface, I have come to an assumption that 2.0 is not for the system its for the users of the system.

A decade back(1990’s) the world saw the revolution in governance, where the files, papers, man-power where replaced by intelligent systems called the computers. Those where the days, where the users of the system where satisfied by the analytic capability of the system; Those where the days, where the data played a major role and the whole focus was on the data interpretations. Now, there has been a paradigm shift in the focus of the user’s, the need of the user then now become his greed, the user of a system is demanding more out of the computer. The user sees a system as a genie. With the hardware – technology breakthroughs, there is an immense need in software – technology breakthrough, the style in which programs where written has to be changed. Now a programmer when he codes should not keep all his focus on machine capability but, also on the users of the system. The programmer has to become an user when he codes. For all these challenges, the word 2.0 seams to put some guidelines.

2.0 is not to do with any technology, computer configuration, but, its all about the approach – the guiding principles to shift the view from the data centric to the view of user centric.

Yikes, see what I mean, I am using Microsoft word pad to write this blog, when I completed the above paragraph and pressed enter key. The Microsoft word interpreted it as a points and added a bullets, but, I did not expect it. If the system was intelligent enough it should have primarily looked for 1.0 before considering 2.0 for bullets. See 1.0 is always a foundation for 2.0, 2.0 cant stand alone, it has to march hand in hand with 1.0.

As of today, there is a need for complete Business Intelligence for various sectors. Business Intelligence is not a straight forward solution for any challenges. Its a complex task and lot of analytic involved. The beautiful and toughest part of this vertical is in harnessing information from data. There are many BI tools in the market, but, the sad part of the story is most of them are on shelf. The reason behind this being, first and foremost, the BI tools are very expensive, a license for each of these tool costs an arm and a leg. The second factor, being the updates to these solutions are very cumbersome and painful. The third factor being, most of the tools in market are specialised in its own way, say a tool x is very good in analytic but when the same tool is considered for reporting, it provides very basic UI and interpretations of the data become an anguish. Now consider a tool y, it will be very good in UI, but, when it comes to synthesising the data, it becomes a programmers nightmare. It boils down to say, as of today, its an challenge to find a tool which can offer a complete satisfaction by providing a complete solution for a problem. Leaving the rest to be thought of, coming to BI today, when compared with BI2.0 dreams, its left in the middle of the desert.

BI 1.0 mainly concentrates on data, i.e., its data centric. The whole design for a solution mainly concentrates on modelling of data, very less flexibility is given for extended interpretations / interaction by the user, users have to take assistance of some other tool for complex analysis, but the satisfaction still remains unfulfilled. Overall, we can say, that the BI 1.0 as of today has just been able to replace lots of paper work and time, saving resources from nightmare of data thefts and management of file system.

BI 2.0, will be the gateway which will break the shell and force the designers and the developers to think out of the box of BI 1.0, but, reminding them not to forget the classic foundations of BI 1.0.

BI 2.0 will encourage the developers to make use of SOA, AOP. BI 2.0 will force the developers to free themselves from the cage of “data first”. Natural language processing and semantics will be basic mantra of BI 2.0, to cater to the needs of collective intelligence or social networking. I think, the march towards BI 2.0 has started off, many architectural changes in data management like In Memory Data Base are emerging, RIA seams to offer some solution to UI. BI is very much specific to a domain, there is an immense need for a domain specific tool in BI, for an instance, Ruby On Rails which is a domain specific language. BI 2.0 will be a feature rich approach which will aim to enhance the user experience with the system.

One feature, which comes up in my mind is, BI 2.0 should provide a work place for the users, in report the user should be able to drag and drop even a tiny subset of information on to his workspace, and he should be able to drag and drop the analytic feature in to his workarea. Then he submits his blue print and after processing the request the user should be able to see what he expected. This may overcome his workaround time. He need not run places to accomplish his task.

Summing up, BI 2.0 will aim at:

  • Fulfilling the user need by proving extended functionality to help the user to accomplish his job more efficiently.
  • Brings the user closer to the system and information.
  • Makes a shift from data first to user first approach.
  • It will force the developers to give more importance to user than the features.

BI 2.0 will no longer need long hands to reach the information, it will blend the user and information.