Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Business Analytics vs. Business Intelligence:

What most BI Vendors don't want you to know

Let's talk about what most Business Intelligence (BI) vendors would really prefer not to discuss. A lot of people tend to misuse the term "BI", and even the industry itself has developed a common meaning for the term which is a bit of a misnomer. Traditionally BI has referred mostly to the front-end -- and I think most people when they talk about it would generally think about BI as the front-end.

We prefer the broader term Business Analytics which is the way we like to think about it at SQL Power - because it's a lot more than just BI or presentation layer. The implication is that you're going to have to be moving data from possibly multiple raw operational sources in order to create higher quality business information on the other side - and to accomplish that, there's a little more to it than just front-end work.

So for anyone evaluating a "BI" vendor or rather a Business Analytics vendor, its more about what that vendor can actually do with the data-sets that they're presented with - because there really are a couple of distinct strategies that more specialized Business Analytics vendors can take to provide quick workable solutions - efficiently and inexpensively.

For instance, if I'm integrating data from applications like NetSuite, or Salesforce with a client's on-premise homegrown applications, I'm going to be given data in its raw natural state and unfortunately that data in its raw form is rarely something that you can just drop into a visualization tool like a MicroStrategy or Tableau and make sense of it. In most cases transformation and manipulation are required - so the real challenge becomes: How do I automate the whole process?

SQL Power has been doing just that for over twenty years, responsible for DW project work at organizations like Scotiabank, TELUS and TREB as well as at local and international FSAs deploying against our superVision™ Suite, an XBRL-based filing and analytics "disclosure" platform for regulators.

Over that time we've acquired not only experiential knowledge from deploying successfully against these complex analytics projects, but along the way we've also developed some very useful automation tools that help our consultants significantly accelerate project delivery and improve TCO - particularly for our smaller clients whom may have not yet made the investment in these products. These tools include: SQL Power Architect, a unique data modelling and profiling tool that enables reverse-engineering of existing databases, profiling against source databases, and ETL metadata auto-generation; SQL Power Loader for automating ETL process development; and SQL Power DQguru, our data cleansing tool for consolidating, cleansing and de-duping key dimensions.

If you look at the "BI" vendors out there, most really require the customer to figure out all of the ETL and data management work for themselves - the burden of all the important work required to get the data prepped and ready - and that's really our specialty.

We have the proven expertise and the right productivity tools to fully automate and accelerate your next Business Analytics deployment - and because we bring these tools to the engagement at no additional cost, we're priced well below the pack. Business people love us because we're fast, inexpensive and we know their pain - IT tolerates us because we offer proven, well architected, easily managed scalable solutions.

learn more at SQLPower.ca/XBRLPower