Friday, July 11, 2008

BI Mythbusters

debunk (dē-bŭngk') tr. v.
  1. To expose or ridicule the falseness, sham, or exaggerated claims of
Don't get caught up in unsubstantiated buzz.

DM Review had an interesting article that debunked some very common BI claims.

Respected analysts from Boris Evelson to Neil Raden have been talking about the data explosion. The data that DM Review presents shows that the shear volume of data used for BI has not grown significantly in the last 3 years.

The positioning of "BI for the Masses" seems as prevalent in BI today as "new and improved" is in the detergent market. This claim has amounted to little more than wishful thinking over the past 12 months. The technologies seem to be available, so maybe the lag is due to the culture trying to catch up.

Similar to the promise of pervasive business intelligence, many vendors have been throwing around "Enterprise BI" as a best practice. The fact, as presented by the article and as confirmed by InetSoft's customer base, is that BI is more often deployed successfully at the department level. This is not hard to understand, because Enterprise BI can seem like boiling the ocean.

Last is the myth that "bigger is better" when it comes to BI vendors. The data show that users are more satisfied with smaller vendors, due in large part to the better customer service. In the post-consolidation market, this is great news for the independent innovators.

Don't believe the hype.


Neil Raden said...


Sincew started this post by attributing to me the "myth" of data explosion, I think a see a comfortable way out for both of us. When I discuss the rapid growth of data for analytics, I rely on source like Richard Winter, who is scrupulous in his research, and my own observations with companies directly.

There is no doubt about it. I have no idea whay DM Review said, or when, since you didn't reference it, but I think one possibility is that you (and possibly DMReview) are referring to the volumne of data that reaches BI tools as opposed to the volume that is flooding into data warehouses, or not getting examined at all.

Winter says data warehouses are doubling in size every three years and the reasons are finer, more atomic data needed for, among other things, predictive modeling and understanding the elemental phenomena of the business, not just its high level metrics; regulation; new sources of data not captured before from web commerce, RFID, etc.

You may not be seeing this because your customer base is slanted more toward the SMB market, not the megaliths. Also, your software doesn't scale to these levels either.


Byron Igoe said...


Thanks for the comment. I hope you didn't take offense; I wasn't trying to say that you were wrong.

The DM Review article is Busting the BI Myths from their July 2008 issue. I would post a link, but I don't think it's publicly available. Yes, you're right that they are talking about the volume of data that is actually used by the BI tool.

You're right that there can be differences between SMBs and Large Enterprises. Note that the observation from Winter ("data warehouses are doubling in size every three years") implicitly filters out the SMBs who don't have a Data Warehouse.

InetSoft doesn't collect statistics about data volumes among our customers, so I can neither confirm or deny their claim. I was simply summarizing the points in the article.

Thanks again. My readers and I appreciate your feedback.