A journalist is writing a story about which BI software performs well. Can you help him?

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I am a news writer at TechTarget.com and am interested in interviewing users of BI solutions. If you are willing to be interviewed, I can assure you that I will fact check before publishing. If you found BI software that performs well or not so well, and your company will allow an on-the-record interview for a story, or if you know someone I can contact at your company for a story, I would be pleased to speak with you. Please email at dring@techtarget.com

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7 Answers

Gerald caussade li?1419884811

I've been using big data tools more recently. Although I help found the BI
space in 1988, shortly before Business Objects, Impromptu, Brio, and a few
others appeared. Sold out to Sterling Software in 1994.

I know the tools, but have not implemented any BI very recently. If you
want info on big data analytics, then I can give you some amazing stories!

Like (0)07 January 15
Reviewer78465 li?1414329971
John BeckerConsultantPOPULAR

As mentioned previously, our selection for a BI solution is Information Builders, Incorporated (IBI).

To that end, here is some information from an earlier IT Central Station posting that may help to inform the Tech Target interview process should you and Tech Target decide to move forward with us in that regard:

Valuable Features:

The simply intuitive end user experience, as well as the data animation/visualization features of IBI’s BI system (a la Hans Rosling, of TED Talks) are a high priority for us.

Improvements to My Organization:

We searched high and low for the above-mentioned functionality in a product that was available to us on-premise (this is a must for us, because we simply can’t afford to use a SaaS/cloud-based solution due to the security/risk factors inherent in the oil industry), and looked at Domo, Qlikview, Tableau, SAP, Birst, SiSense, among many others before we stumbled onto the Information Builders’ BI solution at one of their lunch and learn events, in St. Petersburg, Florida.

Room for Improvement:

As we speak, IBI is adding the data animation/visualization features mentioned above. This is a must for our company, and we and IBI believe it is going to revolutionize the BI space. Here’s the thing…Wouldn’t anyone agree that a data presentation that shows the relationship between factors in a moving/animated way would be more powerful/convincing than the typically static data presentations we have become accustomed to seeing/victimized by in all of those seemingly endless corporate performance meetings? Wouldn’t it be wonderful if the results for an organization simply jumped off the page and it was relatively obvious what was going on/what needs to be done? The cool part is that this future functionality will be free from IBI as part of their regular BI solution offering!

Use of Solution:

We are a greenfield operation and are designing all of our IT, BPM and BI solutions to be the best available today, working on a collaborative business partnership level with all of our vendors/business partners collectively. As such, no systems have been purchased, tested, implemented and deployed as yet.

Deployment Issues:

As mentioned above, deployment hasn’t occurred as yet. However, we have designed and built into our lab testing, implementation, and deployment processes a healthy professional services component that is designed to accommodate for any bumps and stumbles that may occur.

Customer Service:

There were many meetings held at our offices, we also participated in their Customer Summit, in Orlando this summer where we met lots of good, solid professionals and customer-based professionals with whom we were able to learn and grow, as well.

Technical Support:

Fabulous so far

Previous Solutions:

We had been positioned to go with Domo, but because of the problems with purchasing Domo as an on-premise solution at the time, we ran across IBI, and the rest is history! Even though Domo has now told us that they would offer their BI solution to us on-premise, we feel that the intuitive, user friendly aspects of IBI far surpass what Domo has to offer, and as such will be going with IBI as a result.

Initial Setup:

BI is complex. Anyone who imagines otherwise isn’t looking at the entire picture of what’s involved. Although we haven’t as yet deployed (as mentioned above), we believe that IBI’s implementation and testing process will be both thorough and illuminating for our staff in IT and enterprise-wide.

Implementation Team:

In-house is planned, with IBI professional services directly.

ROI:

Since we are a high risk environment, we have calculated that any core business down time will cost us ~$18K per minute (or ~$1M per hour, with our core business process’s reset time projected at ~9 hours = ~$9M or more). Similarly, any efficiencies gained will be realized at those same rates (~$18K per minute, etc.). As a result, we are expecting that our select BI solution will pay for itself many times over in both disasters averted and efficiencies gained through our core business’s continuous process improvement efforts.

Setup Cost:

TBD. We have a cost proposal for both the solution and professional services broken out, but needless to say doing BI the right way can’t reasonably be done on the cheap. I would say that there is an economy of scale where IBI would not be affordable for just any business, as it would be with any IT solution, but for our sized and type of company (~700 staff, revenues projected in the $Bs per year, and both end user experience and continuous process improvement as key business values), we have decided that IBI makes the most sense for us. Guess it all comes down to how much your company has at stake, and how imbedded continuous improvement thinking is within your company’s culture.

Alternate Solutions:

Yes, see above. We looked at Domo, Qlikview, Tableau, SAP, Birst, SiSense, among many others before we stumbled onto the Information Builders’ BI solution.

Other Advice:

Participate in one of their lunch and learn events as we did, and see for yourself what IBI can do!

Bruce Perrin, our COO and Bart Opsahl may have some thoughts to add.

Like (0)06 January 15
Anonymous avatar x30

Hi,

I am happy to be interviewed, I have broad experience in BI tools including
Bus Objects, Cognos, Tableau, Lavastorm, Alteryx and smaller stints with
several others.

Let me know how you would like to proceed.

Regards,

Dave Keys

Mob: +61 (0)417 432990

Like (0)05 January 15
Anonymous avatar x30

I've only recently started working hands-on with a BI application, although I'm very familiar with the BI space, having been involved since 1996. During that time I've been involved in evaluations of BI tools, mostly for U.S. Gov't clients. That said, I have to agree with Mr. Selib's comments.

There are 2 BI online analytical processing (OLAP) architectures -- multi-dimensional (MOLAP) and relational (ROLAP) -- and the differences between them distinguish the capabilities of the tools, especially where analysis and large data volumes are concerned. If your BI requirements are to provide fixed reports, with very little ad hoc analysis, then MOLAP will probably fit your needs and you can go with some of the better known tools (i.e., COGNOS or Oracle). If, however, you want to enable stream-of-consciousness analysis, then you better pick a ROLAP-based tool such as MicroStrategy (full disclosure: I'm a certified MicroStrategy developer). Beyond that, you need to consider how the particular tool was built and how it manages its metadata. In the case of MicroStrategy, it has one metadata for everything. Other tools, such as Cognos, are often built through acquisitions which generally causes problems with metadata integration, even after years of subsequent integration. Without a truly common metadata, each capability could use a different metadata source and not be able to seamlessly exchange metadata between applications, despite hype to the contrary. After that, and to Mr. Selib's point about business-facing, who's actually going to be using the tool? If it's business analysts (despite their formal titles), then you need to provide a tool that will allow them to follow the analytical trail wherever it leads them while minimizing the need to go back to the IT shop to manipulate the data (build yet another cube, for example). And the nature of analysis is, to take an analogy from my days in the Army before GPS, that you often find yourself in the "white space" between map sheets. If the analyst cannot address the data gap immediately and has to pass it back to the IT shop, by the time he/she gets a new data set, they may have forgotten their original question or its OBE. Finally, consider the technology environment of the users and consumers. While it may be great to get detailed visualizations on a mobile device, you may want development to occur on a desktop, with the same look and feel for the product on desktops, laptops, tablets and smart phones (OK, you'll have to make allowances for the phones small screen). There are other considerations, but beyond these you're mainly dealing with the vendors (maintenance, support, training, etc.).

I hope that this helps, especially when you're interviewing other users. I'll send you contact info separately for 2 BI practitioners that I've worked with.

Regards,

Keith Breedlove
Polyglot Analytics, LLC

Like (0)05 January 15
A3d6b732 0d91 4200 a2f5 1500a9d7c9d6 avatar
Steve CornettReal User

Hi Russ,

I can’t be on-the-record per company policy. Sorry!

Thanks,
Steve

Like (0)05 January 15
Picture 1897 1365060665
David SelibReal User

Sure. Glad to discuss Business Intelligence solutions with you.
Bear in mind that the toolsets (say, business objects, cognos, etc and
others like data quality tools), in my viewpoint, are far less important
than the infrastructure support for the various parts of the BI solution.
Management sponsorship, governance practices, data ownership, adequate
subject matter experts, and a fairly crisp understanding of overall
strategy and supporting process are way more important. With these in
place and aligned properly, frankly, nearly any well-documented and
supplier supported toolset would work well.
Finally, BI solutions are really a 'business-facing', as opposed to a
'technical', effort. The easy part is the technology (model building,
coding, performance tuning, etc) and made easier with less re-work when the
administrative infrastructure and business oriented documentation is
properly in place. I find that the reason most BI efforts fail to meet
expectations is due to an emphasis on 'technology' and not enough on the
'business'.
Feel free to arrange a time to discuss on the phone ...

*David Selib*

Like (0)05 January 15
Anonymous avatar x30

Hi

I’m a BI consultant/manager.

I am currently responsible for the information management unit, which aims to build a Data Warehouse for the BCI (Bank of Mozambique). Work in BI area for over 15 years. I am a member of TDWI.
I have a master's degree in Data Warehouse and I've worked with IBM, SAS solutions, Microstrategy, Business Objects, information builders webfocus, Microsoft SQL Server, Talend, among others.

I was a pioneer in building Data Warehouse of CGD (www. CGD. PT) in 2000.

If you want I can answer to your questions…

Kind regard
Elisabete Maria Leitão de Miranda

Like (0)05 January 15
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