Monday, October 13, 2008

The Power of Dynamic BI

TDWI published last week, a Q&A with Cliff Longman, CTO of Kalido, by James E. Powell, called The Power of Dynamic BI.

Cliff Longman did several interesting comments:

- Dynamic BI is business intelligence that is adaptable enough that it can deliver answers to business questions in time for those answers to be useful.

- How dynamic your BI needs to be depends on the business questions asked of it. Some questions might need answers within an hour, others within a month. Your current BI infrastructure may be able to answer some questions while others will push the infrastructure to a breaking point.

- Dynamic BI goes beyond traditional BI, delivering answers not only to the questions the business asked when the BI system was first installed, but also to new questions that come up daily: How does our company look post-merger? What would happen if we changed our sales territories? Is my current marketing promotion having an impact on sales?

- Many or most traditional BI implementations have difficulty delivering dynamic BI, since every change requires some reconfiguration of the data structure behind the BI tool. Often, by the time the system is ready to provide answers, it's irrelevant -- the opportunity has passed or decisions have already been made.

- It's often difficult for IT and business managers to ensure that the BI infrastructure truly reflects the business model. That's partly because business managers can't easily understand a data model, and therefore can't validate it or suggest changes. As a result, data warehouses are often built in ways that do not reflect the business.

- Even when the data structure reflects the business, the data warehouse infrastructure supporting this structure is rigid and difficult to change.

- Business modeling tools capture the way a business works in a medium that can easily be understood by both business managers and IT. With translation barriers eliminated, BI projects are more likely to address the needs of business managers out of the gate, and can easily be modified to address future changes.

- If the data structure is actually based upon and driven by the business model, then changes to the business model can be automatically reflected in the data structure. This limits the issues that come with changing a data warehouse's schema, and speeds the delivery of BI system answers to new business questions. This approach makes business intelligence far more dynamic.

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