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Tableau: 10 Business Intelligence Trends

Tableau, which considers itself an alternative to traditional business intelligence software, put together a set of 10 business intelligence trends. (Watch the Tableau demo by clicking on the "see it in action" button.)

Here is a summary of Tableau's trends:

  1. Big data gets even bigger
  2. Self-reliance is the new self-service
  3. The "Consumerization of Enterprise Software" accelerates
  4. Mobile BI goes mainstream
  5. Some companies start to get comfortable with social BI
  6. Companies explore the BI cloud
  7. Most jobs will require analytical skills ...leading to talent shortages
  8. BI projects flourish under aligned IT & business
  9. Interactive data visualization becomes a requirement
  10. Hadoop gathers momentum - unstructured data isn't going anywhere

Now clearly Tableau is not going to publish a list which is not in it's best interest.  It likely published that list to help sell its products.  But, it is not a bad list.

BrightPoint Consulting published a nice little summary, The Future of BI: Are Dashboards Pointing the Way? which walks you through the things the BI community seem to be thinking about and also provides background on how BI got to where it is today.

I still don't totally get the connection between BI and XBRL. Some BI software vendors such as IBM, SAP, and Oracle seem to see a connection.  Others don't.  I believe that there is a connection but I don't have the clarity I would like as to the connection.

What I have learned by trying to make XBRL work within BI applications is some of the limitations of BI which I have summarized in my Modeling Business Information Using XBRL document (see section 4 Understanding the Multidimensional Model).  Here is a summary:

  • There is no one global standard BI system or one standard multidimensional model used by BI systems.
  • BI systems generally use OLAP.  And as such they have the strengths and limitations of OLAP.  As such, BI systems tend to work best with numbers and tend to force you to aggregate numbers.
  • BI systems tend to be read only, you can use information from a BI system but you cannot put information into a BI system.
  • BI systems focus on numbers and work with numbers extremely well; however they work less well with textual type information or narratives.
  • BI systems don't tend to allow you to import schemas or other metadata which is used to work with the information, the tools tend to provide you mechanisms within the tools to create this metadata.
  • BI systems tend to focus on information which is internal to an organization, it deals less well with information created external to the organization which it must use.
  • BI systems tend to deal well with structured information and less well with unstructured information.

It seems to me that XBRL can help BI overcome many of those limitations. This could be a case of the innovator's dilemma.  Maybe companies such as Tableau who see themselves as an alternative to traditional business intelligence will displace the incumbents.

Do you have any ideas about the connection between XBRL and BI?  Perhaps you can help myself and others figure out where all this will end up.

Posted on Tuesday, January 3, 2012 at 07:27AM by Registered CommenterCharlie in | CommentsPost a Comment

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