Q: Are Web-based analytics solutions actually useful for many organizations? Should they come with a health warning about encouraging management and other staff who don't understand the data to "play around" believing they now have the tools to make decisions without having to consult the experts (which they would rather not do)? In short, unless you have a large or spatially distributed team of analysts/researchers, are these solutions not just a lot of marketing hype offering tools that are more suitable for the desktop? Or, through comprehensive and understandable metadata and effective training programs, can non-experts reach a point of being trusted data users?

Sid Adelman's Answer:These solutions are not just a marketing hype, but you need to be careful not to let the vendors exaggerate their capabilities and not all users are equipped to perform real analysis. Mark Twain wrote "Don't try to teach a pig to sing. You'll waste your time and annoy the pig." Metadata and training are very important but target the right users.

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