Philip Howard of Bloor Research recently laid down a challenge in an engaging, short article published January 18, 2007 entitled "Second Generation BI." Philip calls for a holistic approach to the next generation of business intelligence (BI).1 The premise of Philip's argument is that we are unable to see the forest of business value for the trees of tools and point products. Philip acknowledges that he does not have an answer to the dilemma. If anything he is a voice crying in the wilderness - make ready the way of next generation BI! At the risk of mixing the metaphor, he invites suggestions as to how to find a way out of the BI jungle, providing only one clue - it might have something to do with architecture. Here is my answer. In one word, the answer is - innovation.2

The messy and dynamic BI market confronting companies in 2007 is a function of dozens of trends. The top three are 1) innovations in the underlying system capabilities such as data warehousing appliances, 2) innovations in integrating the business activity with information technology even though data integration is still incomplete, 3) innovations in surfacing business value through breakthroughs in usability and user-interface design.

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