Here’s an item for the BI & DW Hyped trends list:
Why does the iPod outsell its competition by such a wide margin? Why did its sales skyrocket while other music players languished and were primarily bought by a small pool of techies?
The answers are ease of use and giving people what they need.
That lesson is continually lost in the high tech industry. It seems that more functions —
in fact, a mind boggling set of functionality — is the goal of tech vendors. And IT, who conducts most evaluations, love the features too. Simple and ease of use don’t win those evaluations. And then after the evaluations, IT wonders why the business people do not use the tech tool they selected.
This is exactly analogous to real-time data. Some business people, like those working in operations, truly need real-time data. But most businesses and most business people do not need to know what sales have occurred in the last 30 minutes. Most business people are looking at weekly or monthly performance numbers and trends such as year-over-year comparisons. Real-time data would be “noise” to that analysis.
Adding real-time data often significantly increases the costs to build and then to continually deploy a business intelligence solution. In addition, the people who don’t need it are forced to exclude the most recent data when doing their reporting and analysis. This adds complexity, reduces their productivity and slows down queries. Capturing real-time data and integrating it into an enterprise data backbone takes a lot of time, effort and operational costs. Is it worth it?
Most analysts and pundits extolling how easy it will be to get real-time data using the latest and great technology oversimplify what someone needs if that data is truly integrated into the enterprise. They are thinking all that is needed is access to real-time data. They’re not thinking about the fact that you also have to integrate it with other data. If the business only needed to query real-time data they could have done that very cheaply a long time ago. It is the integration that’s time consuming, not the access.
Why should you bring in real-time data unless the business really needs it? Why over-complicate business reporting and analysis? Why decrease business users’ productivity? Why incur the IT and systems costs for something you don’t need and won’t use?
Any business that needs it and can afford it can get it. My guess is that most businesses and business people don’t really need it, and their enterprises should not take on the expense for something that does not have a business ROI.
Just because you can do something doesn’t mean you should or that you can afford it. This is clearly a case where hype does not meet the reality of need.