In our recently published eBook, detailing the key analytics and BI themes for the year ahead, one of the themes focused on the importance of businesses deciding what their strategy for BI is over the coming years.
Many organisations have a strategic decision to make around their analytics platforms and one they need to make sooner rather than later. Do they focus on a core platform with the solutions of a single vendor or do they go for a mashup of platforms and tools selecting the best in class for each component? Such components include distributed file storage, in-memory databases, ETL tools, OLAP engines, BI & visualisation tools and predictive tools.
There’s no universal wrong or right answer. It’s relative to each organisation and part of their overall IT and information strategy, which includes technologies, vendors, Cloud, open source software etc. Some organisations are taking the decision to use a number of different vendors and technologies for their analytic components, mashing up the best of breed. Other companies go for software from a single vendor, which offers pre-built integration.
It's a big decision that needs to be made soon, if not already. The technology is moving so fast that unless there is a strategy, the decision will probably be made for them. IT may decide to do nothing and stay with existing vendors, or business users will purchase multiple best of breed solutions directly off-the-shelf and implement them without the approval of IT.
Whatever the technology, businesses need to balance both enterprise BI and business self-service requirements, which will ultimately lead to a two-speed technology approach to satisfy the needs of those two groups (see our Bi-modal BI eBook below).
There are plenty of things to consider in terms of technology choices - far too many to list all of them in one post. Yet integration, as mentioned above, is a very critical one.
How do you develop a BI strategy?
The foundation of a BI strategy is that it must be business-led. The outputs of a strategy assessment must be focused on the business initiatives that need to be delivered and will bring value to the business. The technology options and choices to enable the delivery of the identified value comes second place in the assessment, but is still important. If the strategy is business value focused, it makes the investment case in a new strategic technology landscape a whole lot easier.