InetSoft Technology: Agile BI, Not Automatic BI

Forrester's Boris Evelson wrote a very good piece on agile BI analytics, something we've been championing for the past 3 years in our "Easy, Agile, Robust" tagline.

You can find the April 22, 2010 report, Agile BI Out Of The Box, for purchase at

Boris introduces “Agile BI” with the same definition we’ve been pushing for years:

  1. faster initial development of useful business intelligence dashboards and reports, plus
  2. the ability to react more quickly to changing business requirements for business intelligence

We cheer for his points about why traditional BI applications are not agile by design and how agile BI comes to the rescue.

BI Demo Register

Now for the part where we have a little different view.

The rest of the paper goes on to discuss “metadata-generated BI” which is “one such example of a new technology supporting Agile BI”. These metadata-generated BI applications essentially do the same work a traditional BI environment requires (building a data warehouse), but much of it is automated. By automating the initial data work, yes, a lot of time and effort must be saved, but the problem is: you may not get what you want.
Read how InetSoft was rated #3 for implementation in G2 Crowd's user survey-based index.

This is where an application like ours steps in. Instead of doing the same old thing faster, we take a new approach. We support Agile BI by eliminating the upfront effort of creating a Data Warehouse, and instead providing Data Mashup. When you have the application (reports and dashboards) designed the way you want it, then you can setup a Data Grid Cache to make it perform better. By having the data transformation be virtual, it is much faster to create and much easier to change.

The other tools that Boris mentions automate the ETL (extract-transform-load) work based on the metadata, before reports and dashboards are created. We automate the ETL work after the reports and dashboards are created, and only if desired.

Some of these tools will also automatically generate reports based on the data. Again, is the saved effort worth anything if the finished product is not what the users want? By providing a Web-based drag-and-drop tool for both interactive data visualization and publishing-quality reports, we help businesses create exactly what they want, and more efficiently than traditional BI tools.