The Last Uncharted Land

Originally Posted on May 2 2011

BI vendors do their best. Many user tools are a pleasure for the eye. Some dashboards are a work of art, appealing and insightful at the same time. Yet, compared to some user technologies, they appear terribly outdated.

What about those social networks apps that connect you with people, posts, comments, photos and videos like magic? Aren’t those augmented reality applications looking to leak out from a sci-fi movie? Not to speak of those slick, double touch, interfaces that make you feel like Karajan.

What’s the reason behind this? Simple: business applications are no fun. They ultimately model the underlying data model, olap or relational. These, in turn, are mathematical and logical constructs. There’s no stream, no friends, no likes and RTs. These are rather intuitive concepts, while the hard facts of BI, often, are not. If you are a BI professional, probably you think that I’m mistaken, that BI is not that difficult. Believe me, the average user has difficulties understanding a filter.

Is this good or bad? Whatever prevents users from gaining full advantage of BI is bad (if I had another opinion I were looking for a new job) but actually there is no point in oversimplifying what is intrinsically not simple.
This is so true that business-oriented BI education is spreading, like here or here.

Or, maybe, not? Maybe we are headed in the wrong direction. As I often said, the current BI business model has a flaw: it doesn't match the user’s business mental model. While for us, BI professionals, is natural to think in terms of tables and cubes; the user thinks in terms of objects and collections. I actually do not know what this could mean exactly, but it makes me think that another, alternate world, is possible. This is probably the last uncharted land in BI, where we still lack some technology.


Anyway, I don’t bother; I’m trying to switch BI from the read-only paradigm to read-write. I can’t handle more than a revolution at time.


Once I tweeted about the last uncharted land in BI, but I never discussed it. This is a starter. Do not let me alone!



374 views and 1 response

  • May 7 2011, 6:24 PM

    Ellie K responded:

    This was one of your better posts. I think we are at somewhat of an impasse regarding implementation versus use of business intelligence. A lot of wheel-spinning is going on at the moment. I don't know what the impetus will be, to push us along though!

    The data warehouse paradigm, systems of record, so many concepts that sounded innovative and sensible five or ten years ago, have not been particularly successful as far as implementation. But we had to try in order to learn though. Now the question is: How do we take this dearly-earned knowledge and use it to move forward?

    You said this post was a starter. I'm ready for the next installment! Tell us about the last uncharted land in Business Intelligence please?