JAN 13, 2011 12:16am ET

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A Home for Analytics


In the latest issue of Information Management dropping on desks next week, you'll see an article on the merging of business intelligence and business analytics, and an argument that calls for an integrated approach. It asks traditional vendors to embrace advanced predictive, data mining, text and other advanced capabilities in their business intelligence platforms.

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Comments (4)
Let me put my bias up front here. I worked in AI when it was fresh and I concentrated on knowledge representation, taxonomies, and such. To limit AI to representing the structure of knowledge and facts would be criminal. We were always intent on providing the models of the world for inferences that could be drawn from the facts.

When I hear BI being separated from analytical processing, I cringe. Maybe we are at a stage where some separation is required in terms of marketing and product schemes but the people who bring these together are going to be the winners.

This is like trying to represent data without understanding the business process or trying to automate a process with no understanding of the data and little richness in the data model. A great mathematician and philosopher, Alfred North Whitehead, spoke of the world of value and the world of activity. They need to come together.

With all the talk of SOA and clouds and such, I suspect that the future is providing analytical services that connect to the rich data models and repositories of facts.

If this is a struggle between 500 pound gorillas, Oracle and SAP, tell them to stop the fighting or at least don't ask the customer to join in the fray. Integration always wins and sooner or later it happens.

Posted by Tom K | Thursday, January 13 2011 at 10:29AM ET
Hi Jim,

For me, this highlights that BI as a label inclusive of both Data Warehousing AND Analytics is becoming problematic. As you point out, technology supporting Analytics is become more pervasive, diverse, and freely available. We are seeing more and more business intelligence communities serve themselves with respect to the Analytics side of BI. The control culture of IT needs to recognize this and adapt to a new reality.

Its the Data Warehousing side of BI that will continue to need the more disciplined principles of a control culture supporting it through data management principles (imho), but even that will be tested and require adaptation. ERP vendors support data warehousing through homogenized data assets like SAP BW built and fed from ERP data. Through the use of data federation options (like BOBJ Data Federator), BW can also participate in a managed federation of hetrogenous data warehouse assets.

I believe that managing the data will increase in importance under a new reality supporting freedom of choice with respect to Analytic tooling. I also believe that SAP is becoming well positioned with the integration of BOBJ to sit on both sides of this BI fence.

Mike Beauchamp

Posted by Mike B | Thursday, January 13 2011 at 10:37AM ET
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