InetSoft Webinar: Agile BI - Transforming the Enterprise BI Application Life Cycle

This is the continuation of the transcript of a Webinar hosted by InetSoft on the topic of "Agile BI: What is it and why should you care?" The speaker is Mark Flaherty, CMO at InetSoft.

Our mission here with agile BI is to really radically transform the enterprise BI application life cycle. We are seeking to lower complexity and improve productivity and lower cost, especially TCO. From a technology infrastructure perspective, we are helping at the data access and data integration levels. We make it possible to skip ETL processes and other data integration pieces typically used for building data models and data warehouses.

Our BI platform offers direct access to almost and data source with the unique data mashup capabilities that other vendors sell as data virtualization. So in one solution you have the necessary data modeling tools plus multi-dimensional or OLAP analysis functions plus advanced data visualization tools plus traditional reporting plus interactive dashboarding.

So essentially you’re getting a single interface to build the data model and at click of a button you can then start to report and analyze and visualize your data without needing to switch tools and set up different metadata, and so on. And you can do all of this through a traditional on-premise deployment or you can do it through on-demand deployment in a cloud hosted infrastructure.

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So how does traditional BI and agile BI compare to each other? Traditional BI is plagued by the slow moving iterations where you start with requirements at the top, you move into the design phase that might take a few weeks or months, and you move into the development phase that will take more weeks and months, and then you finally deploy the finished application to your end-users. Meanwhile several months had gone by and as I said early on, times have moved on. Business users, their requirements have changed and you get this big gap between requirements and analysis, requirements and deployment of the application and the ability for IT to keep up with business requirements.

In contrast, agile BI, what this is ultimately about is really speeding up that cycle. That can mean more closely coupling developers and end-users so they are working alongside each other. It can mean skipping ETL steps to build data mass and data warehouses. And it means with a few mouse clicks the ability to visualize a report and build dashboard against that data, without huge gaps of time intervening.

Because dashboard or report development takes only minutes, then it is not painful to iterate on the finished product when end-users change their mind after the initial versions are ready for review. And there is seldom a need to change the data model and change the ETL flows and so on. There are even levels of self-service that can eliminated even more of the development loop necessary to ensure the BI application meets the needs of the users. So that’s really what agile BI all about. It's radically speeding up that development and deployment cycle of the BI solution.

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