We live in exciting time for Business Intelligence. For the most part our customer base has arrived at their current state through a number of evolutions in technology and the resulting demand from business for information that is timely and accurate. The demand for this information is derived for the competitive pressures placed on organizations to be more efficient in delivering their products and services. Yet, they have been expected to be more cost effective in managing their assets and resources.
The challenge to the business is to do more with less.
The technology required to deliver business solutions continues to evolve. We have witnessed over the past 20 years the rise of relational database technologies, the coming of age of client server and object oriented computing, and internet and web-based distribution of application and functionality. The true dawning of an information age, that has not been without its pit falls and struggles.
Out of the rise of OnLine Transaction Processing (OLTP) and relation databases systems came a demand for reporting, executive information and OnLine Analytical Processing (OLAP) that created the world of complex Data Marts, Data Warehousing and Business Intelligence systems. Traditionally these systems were based on batch processing and had timelines and data latencies that were measured over months or weeks. These environments were dictated by technology limitations of functionality and performance that were available at that time.
What we have witnessed over the past 10 years has been the evolution of OLAP, MOLAP, ROLAP and all its many and varied incarnations as organizations work to deliver timely business information. We have seen many cases where success is gauged by the deliver of key information to business leaders that hinges on technologies that just can’t keep up with the increasing demand for information. While the effort, time and resource required to create these systems and put them into place make it imperative that the organizations continue to use them and evolve them into more cost effective producers of valuable business driving information.
From here we see the BI and DW industries evolving back to merge once again from the operational system from which they arose. But this will take time as there are gaps to fill. Technologies, automated processes and manual business practices need to evolve within organizations before this merging can occur. Traditional batch processes need to become near real-time or real-time. OLTP systems need to accommodate OLAP functionalities. Data capture and quality need to be addressed. The privacy concerns of the data providers needs to be ensured. Performance issues will always arise as long as the demand for more and current information increases. And finally the publishing of what information is available, where it is, and how it is best accessed continue to present challenges for many organizations
That’s what we’ll be working on with our clients into the future. The gradual evolution of DW and BI into being more closely integrated with real time operational systems. That’s where we believe the market is going.