Expert Perspective: What We Need to Get to Operational BI - InformationWeek

InformationWeek is part of the Informa Tech Division of Informa PLC

This site is operated by a business or businesses owned by Informa PLC and all copyright resides with them.Informa PLC's registered office is 5 Howick Place, London SW1P 1WG. Registered in England and Wales. Number 8860726.

Software // Information Management

Expert Perspective: What We Need to Get to Operational BI

Current technologies aren't suitable for embedding business intelligence within applications and Web interfaces. What's needed is a developer-friendly split between query and data access that will lead to more pervasive use of BI.

Program-Level Integration Challenges

Apart from the simple challenge of making a report or graph an integral part of an application interface, there are the complexities of program-level integration. Enterprise applications are most often built with Java. Web applications may be deployed with Java, .Net or with tools and languages like PHP and Ruby that are more common in the Web world. Then there are the Web widgets, whether from vendors, language toolkits or rich Internet application products like Adobe AIR.

Most BI vendors have stand-alone UIs that don't operate well in these environments, so it will be difficult for them to embed conventional reports or graphs. You can’t easily take a report from most tools and incorporate it seamlessly into an enterprise or web application. This is due to the differing authentication, security and interaction models as well as user interface requirements.

Expect Web 2.0 technology to drive changes in BI user interfaces, particularly for embedding. Web 2.0 might also accelerate the split between the UI and query engine layers. Native Web UI tools expect simple, callable interfaces for data access. Products like JackBe might point the way toward a new model for BI tools.

Open source BI tools also show promise in the operational BI space. Apart from the obvious advantage in cost of deployment, they have more exposure in the Web and Java application developer markets. As a result, they're generally easier to embed or integrate with applications.

With the acquisitions of Hyperion, Business Objects and Cognos, and Microsoft’s entry into the BI market, there are plenty of opportunities for companies to explore new architectures for operational business intelligence. Expect slow progress from these big vendors as they go through the acquisition process and figure out how to operate as part of a larger application or infrastructure vendor. That could open the door for fleet-footed rivals that can offer alternatives sooner rather than later.

The ongoing addition of data and application services in IT means you can gain experience with some of these new technologies today and put yourself ahead of the curve. When BI vendors finally begin to address these needs, you’ll be ready.

We welcome your comments on this topic on our social media channels, or [contact us directly] with questions about the site.
2 of 2
Comment  | 
Print  | 
More Insights
CIOs Face Decisions on Remote Work for Post-Pandemic Future
Joao-Pierre S. Ruth, Senior Writer,  2/19/2021
11 Ways DevOps Is Evolving
Lisa Morgan, Freelance Writer,  2/18/2021
CRM Trends 2021: How the Pandemic Altered Customer Behavior Forever
Jessica Davis, Senior Editor, Enterprise Apps,  2/18/2021
White Papers
Register for InformationWeek Newsletters
Current Issue
2021 Top Enterprise IT Trends
We've identified the key trends that are poised to impact the IT landscape in 2021. Find out why they're important and how they will affect you.
Flash Poll