Better BI

Chris Gerrard – Exploring the world of Better Business Intelligence

BI RAD – Business Intelligence Rapid Analytics Delivery

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A fundamental virtue in BI is the delivery of value early, often and constantly.

Business Intelligence—Rapid Analytics Delivery (BI RAD) is the practice of creating high quality analytics as quickly, efficiently, and effectively as possible. Done properly, it’s possible to develop the analytics hand-in-hand with the business decision makers in hours.

BI RAD requires the combination of tools that permit easy access to the business data, are highly effective and usable in the exploratory model of analysis-browsing through the data looking for interesting patterns and anomalies, and then persisting meaningful analyses as analytics.

BI RAD emerged as a viable practice over twenty years ago with the first generations of specialized reporting tools that were much more nimble and effective than the COBOL report generation coming from DP shops. I worked extensively with FOCUS, the original 4GL, first at JCPenney, then as a consultant and product manager with Information Builders, Inc., FOCUS’ vendor. People were surprised, sometimes shocked, at how rapidly useful reports could be generated for them—once up to speed new reports could generally be available within a day, sometimes a couple of hours.

In today’s world of Big BI, where enterprise BI tools and technologies are the norm, business decision makers have become accustomed to long waits for their BI analytics. In a sense, Big BI has become the modern DP; the technology has become so large and complex that getting it installed and operational, with everything designed, implemented, cleansed, ETL’d, and so on before any analytics get created consumes all the time, energy, effort and resources available and results in failure and disappointment, with very little value delivered in the form of information making it into the minds of the real human people who need it.

Yet BI RAD lives. An entire modern generation of direct-access data discovery tools has emerged, providing the ability to establish an intimate connection between business data and the people who need insights into the data in order to make informed business decisions.

Tableau, from Tableau Software, is a near-perfect tool for BI RAD. It connects to the great majority of business data sources almost trivially easily, and is unsurpassed in terms of usability and quality of visualizations for the majority of business analytics needs.

Using Tableau, it’s possible to sit down with a business stakeholder, connect to their data, and jump right into exploring their data. Any interesting and valuable analyses can be saved and kept at hand for immediate use.

Experience in multiple client environments has shown that these analyses have multiple overlapping and reinforcing benefits to the organization. The immediate and obvious benefit is that business decision makers are provided the data based insights they require to make high quality business decisions. Beyond that, the analyses created are the best possible requirements for Enterprise analytics

Who could ask for anything more?

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Written by Chris Gerrard

April 5, 2011 at 11:32 pm

Posted in BI RAD, Enterprise BI

Tagged with ,

One Response

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  1. I always desired to publish on my web site a little something like that. I usually don’t write-up comments in blogs but your blog site forced me to, tremendous effort.

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    April 7, 2012 at 4:47 pm


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