InetSoft Webinar: BI Products from the Leading BI Vendors

This is the continuation of the transcript of the DM Radio show "Avoiding Bottlenecks and Hurdles in Data Delivery". InetSoft's Principal Technologist, Byron Igoe, joined industry analysts and other data management software vendors for a discussion about current issues and solutions for information management.

Jim Ericson: Yeah, that’s great. I mean we are finding that with self-service BI, the BI products from the leading BI vendors, they simplified their developing environment to the point that just about anybody can create a report, but again it’s the data behind that that becomes still more challenging so, I like what you are saying there, you are providing the data layer there, hopefully with some semantics over it, so that just about any user can make sense of it.

Eric Kavanagh: Well, the IT department then can start also putting in the appropriate amount of security and governance with regards to who can access what from the standpoint that we just don’t want people spending star queries on their data sources to bring an operational system down.

So the IT department can create these views, put the security in place, and put the governance in place with regards to the proper data flow to those systems, and really can deliver high value without a lot of cost in operational overhead.

Philip Russom: That’s great. You know for lot of people there, for lot of users, their definition of self-service BI is that they are just going to go rogue, and they are going to use some SQL to hack their way into some systems or use Microsoft Access etc., and create something that uncontrolled, poor quality, and could even violate governance policy. So yeah, I like what you are saying that IT would involved with the IT compliance.

Eric Kavanagh: Yeah, that’s an interesting example, too, and I like that star queries point. Right, bring me asterisk.asterisk.

Jim Ericson: That’s one other thing that probably useful to add in the context of agility and speed. We have been focusing on helping the consumer or the end user. The IT folks not only meet the governance, they also need help with connectivity to exploding range of data sources. So I know we have touched on it but think about the SaaS applications that are not only used by end users, but they generate whole new silos of data potentially that could be useful as well. So connectivity to those new applications in house or on the cloud something that the IT organization needs to add to its range of capability as well.

Eric Kavanagh: Yeah, sure, and you know, Byron, to bring you back in, unless you mention the whole side of collaboration and certainly I have seen how wonderful it is to have stuff like Google dots which of course is free but I have heard more vendors talking about collaborative BI specifically, and I think that it’s a great idea.

I think it is definitely the direction to go. I wonder, you know, how long it’s going to take to kind of drag some people into that mix, but it seems to me that’s a great way also to just educate people, some of the business people, the lesser technical types, on what goes on under the covers because when you do understand what's out there, I think it helps you know what you can expect and what you should not expect, right?

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Byron: Certainly, certainly. I mean more and more we have an educated user population. People understand what it means to join tables together, and now we have everybody wanting their information and not only wanting the information but knowing how to get it themselves, not to be extent maybe writing queries, but knowing how to connect to data, knowing that when you join information together that you are going to get certain results. A lot of self-service is for permeating the culture, not just in the business world, but you see this a lot with more Web 2.0 capabilities offered by the more advanced website out there.

Eric Kavanagh: Now, that’s good point. Yeah, let’s see.

Jim Ericson: I think the goal here is you are trying to separate the user community from the standpoint of having to try to spend a lot of their time searching for the information and provide the feed in such a way that they can look at almost as a virtual knowledge base or virtual data system, however you deliver it.

It is like this is sort of independent of the raw data, itself, that I am creating the aggregated meta views that people can then sort of query and search use that for your discovery mechanism and then having them not have to create these separate replicated views that they work on. They can create these data views to gain new insight.

That’s the data I want to work on now. I can create this intermediate view, and when I am done, I can flush it, because right now those databases stay, and they persist. People can go away and don’t need to wonder, can I get rid of it or not. And now you have a place where not only like this to do discovery, but I have a place where I can go and work, and I can have different visualization tools or different analytical tools set above so I can access those different data systems.

Eric Kavanagh: Yeah, I like the term you used: certified aggregated business views. That makes a lot of sense, and it really kind of plays into what Byron was talking about with respect to collaboration. I have heard about materialized views, but this sounds to me like more of a shared materialized view for a point in time, right?

Jim Ericson: Correct.

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