Stuck in the ‘What Era’

 If we look at the current Informational Systems that companies have deployed today, be they Data Warehouses, Marts or systems reporting directly from operational systems, we should rightly be dismayed by the lack of innovation displayed. Many surveys have been done in terms of profiling the usage of these systems, and my own research shows the following: Forty percent of the time these systems are doing absolutely nothing. Of the remaining 60%:  Eighty percent is spent producing standard reports, of which over 50% are not read.  Fifty percent is spent producing parameterised reports.  Less than 5% is spent running innovative queries or other tasks; I still call this last bit ‘real’ Business Intelligence. Now, without being critical we should face up to the fact that this profile is pretty universal and has probably happened because of two things: Operational reporting is very poor within the standard packages so common in businesses today (the ERP stuff especially) so new ‘BI Systems’ start by simply doing what the ERP systems should already be doing. End users are not used to being shown what’s going on in their business, they generally prefer to ignore facts and instead rely on their own, unique experience. So, welcome to the ‘What’ era, an era where nearly our entire BI effort ends up generating reports that simply tell us what happened in the past. Stunning news such as:  How many of product ‘X’ did we sell last month?  How many new customers did we attract last week?  What was our most popular flight route this summer? Now whilst the ‘What Era’ is a pretty simple but frustrating place to be, it’s also pretty simple because it is so undemanding in terms of people and technology. Throw some data at a database, structure it well, provide a reporting tool and the job’s pretty much done. Frustrating because all of this effort merely tells you what has already happened. Mind you, if something happened and it was ‘good’, then all is well, but what if it’s bad? Well tough luck, because as it’s already happened, it’s too late to do anything about it!

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About bibongo

I'm a consultant in the field of Business Intelligence and have been since the mid 80's which gives you some idea of my age! I'm priviledged to have held senior positions with Teradata, Oracle, Hp and EMC. I have an English son and a Swedish daughter seperated by some 18 years which is another type of welcome challenge!
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