Are You Prepared for the Q4 Push?
September 26, 2007
TDWI Spreadmart Research Report
September 28, 2007
Are You Prepared for the Q4 Push?
September 26, 2007
TDWI Spreadmart Research Report
September 28, 2007

Peeking Behind the Curtain of Business Intelligence & Data Warehousing Hype

In the
business intelligence and data warehousing industry we are continually inundated
with new product categories and killer apps that are going to revolutionize what
we are doing and finally enable a "single version of the truth."

they’re going to do it cheaper than we have ever been able to do it in the past!

right. (And I’ve got a bridge to sell you.)

You can
easily gather a list of these miracle solutions by looking at various data
warehousing and business intelligence (DW/BI) magazine or vendor websites.
You’ll find DW/BI appliances,
OSS (open source software), SaaS
(software as a service), SOA (services oriented architecture), MDM (master data
management), CDI (customer data integration), CPM (corporate performance
management), in-memory OLAP (on-line analytics processing), EII (Enterprise
Information Integration), EIM (Enterprise Information Management), and real-time

digging and you’ll find even more. Sometimes these categories or technologies
go by another name or acronym (just to confuse matters more).

Are any of
these truly revolutionary? Do any really deliver on their hype?

Often these
products or technologies do indeed provide business and technology value, but
maybe what is delivered doesn’t match the expectations presented by the media,
analysts and vendors.

Are these
expectations purely built on pretty Marchitecture slides? Are the customer references from "regular"
customers like you? Or are they from companies that are eager early adopters or
serial buyers of many different products anyway – always searching for the next
killer app?

Most importantly, will you really realize the supposed gains because you
bought these new products? Or will it be because you implemented your latest
DW/BI project differently? Oftentimes, a project is successful because of the investment
in time, resources and commitment to
the DW/BI effort
– not because of a magic tool.

Sorry vendors, but your new
product may have been merely incidental to the project’s success rather than
the reason for it. But, you’ll still write case studies proclaiming that your
tool is DW/BI’s latest salvation.

This is the kick-off to a series of posts on hyped products and trends.
We will look behind the curtain to discuss what is real versus myth.

Please feel to comment on what technologies or trends you would like to
discuss. A word of caution: this discussion is NOT meant to trash specific
companies, technologies or products. 


  1. Hi Rick, I’m looking forward to your thoughts on SaaS business intelligence.

  2. Anonymous says:

    Don’t forget that us BI vendors also get the blame even when it isn’t our fault… 🙂 (e.g. underlying systems aren’t optimized, poor data quality because of bad processes…)
    For what’s it’s worth, we do spend a lot of time trying to help our customers be successful, not just sell them software. Note there’s nothing particularly philanthropic about this — the more people are successful with their projects, the more BI they’ll use, and the more we will sell…
    E.g. the recent seminar series Business Objects sponsored with TDWI — Wayne Eckerson and I presented on BI best practice, concentrating mostly on the organization aspects — see this post for links to the recordings…
    BI Questions Blog

  3. Rick Sherman says:

    Guilty conscience? Just kidding.
    I agree with the blame game. I often tell clients and students that the front-facing aspect of a DW, BI or CPM system, i.e. the BI software, is blamed (or given credit) for that system. It does not matter if there are issues with the business requirements; specifications; ETL design; logical database design; physical database implementation; infrastructure (servers, storage, network, etc.); how someone developed the reports, dashboards, cubes etc.; whether there has been proper business or IT training; the workload is much greater than anticipated; or, even if the business users cannot agree on data governance. In the end, the BI software is what the business users see and it gets blamed or credit for the system.
    Getting back to the hype issue, many (or most) projects fail to meet expectations according to the surveys that ask about the success of projects. Someone is planting the seeds of nirvana with people who buy these products. It’s not just the vendors, though, but also analysts, consultants and the media who share in creating the hype.
    It’s healthy to question the hype if only to set realistic expectations.

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