Too much hype: our panelists opine on “Emerging Trends in Business Intelligence”

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Too much hype: our panelists opine on “Emerging Trends in Business Intelligence”

on Many thanks to those in the Boston area who attended our second TDWI Boston chapter meeting. We had interesting presentation from Jeff Fried of FAST and Dave Mohr of Pentaho who spoke on BI text search and open source software in BI respectively. Many thanks to Fidelity Investments for the terrific meeting room with a fourteenth floor view of Boston Harbor and Logan Airport.

180pxjohn_william_waterhouse__the_7 The most fun during the meeting, though, was a lively panel discussion on “Emerging Trends in Business Intelligence”. The panelists: Cliff Longman (CTO, Kalido), Mannie Goldberg (NSTAR), Jeff and Dave. I moderated the panel. Rather than simply having a technology lovefest we tried to keep everyone honest by using the Gartner’s Hype Cycle to frame our discussion. This meant that rather then just hyping the "latest and greatest" technologies, the panelists had to select technologies for all five steps of the Gartner’s Hype Cycle:

1. "Technology Trigger"

2. "Peak of Inflated Expectations"

3. "Trough of Disillusionment"

4. "Slope of Enlightenment"

5. "Plateau of Productivity"

A couple of other ground rules: No vendor could mention their technology in a positive tone, i.e. they were allowed to say its expectations were inflated but not that it was a breakthrough, and they had to come up with something different then their other panelists. I asked the same question to every panelist but had specific follow-up questions and I asked the audience to contribute.

The results according to the panelists & audience:

1. "Technology Trigger"

  • BI or Text Search
  • Unstructured Data
  • Fast Storage
  • DW Appliance
  • Virtualization
  • Operational BI

2. "Peak of Inflated Expectations"

  • DW Appliance
  • Operational BI
  • Mobile BI
  • Dashboards
  • CPM (Corporate Performance Management)
  • SOA (Service Oriented Architecture)
  • SaaS (Software as a Service)
  • MDM (Master Data Management)
  • Virtualization

3. "Trough of Disillusionment"

  • CPM (Corporate Performance Management)
  • CDI (Customer Data Integration)
  • CRM (Customer Resource management)
  • Data Governance
  • EDW (EnterpriseData Warehouse)
  • Business User – This needs explanation! The person meant that vendors continually hype how their software is geared to business people, i.e. self-service, but that it the software’s flexibility and agility is always oriented to IT or business “power” users.

4. "Slope of Enlightenment" or 5. "Plateau of Productivity"

  • Data Warehousing Architecture
  • OLAP (On-Line Analytical Processing)
  • Enterprise Reporting
  • Relational DBMS (database management system)

I tried not to editorialize during the panel discussion but there were a few times that I could not resist. We did not vote on the list and included each of the panelists’ choices even if many in the audience disagreed. There are a few technologies in multiple categories because opinions vary.

Any thoughts on the choices?

DISCLAIMER: The opinions expressed by the panel do not necessarily reflect my opinions.


  1. Great list. My comments on the # 1 in each category. Text search: maybe nice to have for now but intuitive software offerings solutions i.s.o. information is the way to go. Technology is key for this. See also my blog on
    DW applications: (ERP) platform bases solutions is the trend. Perhaps some DW applications can survive in niche areas. CPM: way to much focused on financial performance. Big mistake. Should have been aligned with non-financial performance much earlier. Architecture: think before you build. You do it with your house, why not with your datawarehouse!

  2. Rick Sherman says:

    Jorgen, Good feedback. My 2 cents since I published without editorial comments initially.
    I think that BI/text search has very inflated expectations at this time. It will become a useful part of a BI portfolio when people figure out what unstructured data to “publish” and when we determine how we search structured data in context, i.e. within the database (as opposed to simply searching assigned keywords, report titles or pre-built reports.) Also, is the key problem people can’t find the data or that the data is inconsistent across multiple reports or spreadsheets or that there is data quality issues.
    I agree with you that CPM is concentrating on financial applications and financial measures. To be fair to CPM vendors, the CFO who is facing regulatory and transparency issues, is thinking about replacing their data shadow systems with a CPM application or something.
    But it does seem that CPM vendor’s mostly offer financial applications. There are two reasons for that. First, non-financial measures vary much more between industries and even across companies within an industry, thus making it much harder to create a all-purpose CPM application. Second, a corollary is that creating the non-financial measures is probably beyond the expertise and experience of many ERP vendors and most BI/CPM vendors.

  3. I participated in Rick’s session, and it was nice to have a bit of fun on the back of some serious topics. So much so, I can’t resist on other question for him and the other panelists inspired by the recent acquisition of BOBJ by SAP…
    What happens if a vendor with technology in one stage of the hype cycle acquires a vendor with technology in another? Peak of Inflated Expectations plus Slope of Enlightenment = Euphoria? Perhaps Technology Trigger plus Plateau of Productivity = Instant gratification? Alas, I expect that Peak of Inflated Expectations plus Trough of Disillusionment = that TGIF feeling we all get at the end of the week…
    What do you think?

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