Earlier this week on the current Reg Workshop discussion it was posited that all too often marketing people appear to be in control of the vocabulary used in relation to Business Intelligence (BI). We went on to say that much of the language seems to be targeted at motivating senior managers and "business decision makers" on …
BI Snake Oil
I was in the BI business from 1978 to 1998, initially as software vendor sales/support and later a consultant building data warehouses and BI systems.
BI software is based either on multi-dimensional engines that were developed in the 1980s, or relational query tools that appeared in the 1990s. Data warehouse architecture derives from work by Codd, Kimball and others going back at least 15 years. There are sources like The OLAP Report that publish independent evaluations of the available tools, and several consultancies that will do individual evaluations. Database vendors have data warehouse user groups, whose members publicly bear the scars.
Yet you are trying to tell me that senior managers are still taken in by mickey mouse demos run off Access databases, when the most rudimentary research that their own IT staff could do would tell them this stuff is hard to do? Well, I suppose they are, but only because they want to be.
The guy with the slick demo sitting in front of you is called a salesman. You only agreed to see him because he told you what you wanted to hear - that you don't really need to invest in your IT infrastructure, you just need something to paper over the cracks. His tool will work if you can supply it with the right data in the right format. If you can't, that is YOUR responsibility, not his. Wake up.