Last week I wrote about the TDWI Executive Summit vendor panel discussion on the Future of BI. It was a great chance to hear what was on the mind of the business executive audience and hear what vendors have to say. There were no surprises in the topics and really none in the responses. And, for the most part, the vendors did a good job remaining neutral and not turning it into a chance to advertise their own products.

Open Source – Open source can be good when it is properly defined and broadly accepted. For example, Google Search and Apache are now commonplace in many organizations. It’s critical that the open source products have a good following and great support.

Data Virtualization – The trend towards data virtualization or federation seems to switch back and forth – much like the trend to centralize and decentralize. There seems to always be a need for virtualization, but the real need should be identified in the business requirements.

BPM and BI – There is a trend toward monitoring Lean improvements with BI. Lean methodologies can drive out the metrics which can then be used in process decision points, sometimes through predictive models. Be sure to use BI to communicate the value that the business process change will provide.

Data Integration – Data integration is still a challenge for many. It’s critical to understand your business needs on timing for getting data through the “ecosystem.” Couple the timing needs with your organization’s ability and decide whether batch, trickle, or real-time makes the best sense.

Collaboration – Many products are beginning to do a better job incorporating collaboration features. For example, has their Chatter feature, much like a Facebook for the enterprise. Now Tibco is offering Tibbr, with features also similar to Facebook. User expectations will only continue to rise.

IT Roles – IT roles for BI will become more specialized. With BI becoming mission critical, support responsibilities become more important and will require a greater understanding and closer monitoring.

It was another good conference with great networking opportunities. It was fun to get a chance to talk to business people from many different industries. While they each face similar challenges, their need for BI can be so different.

I was also encouraged talking to vendors who tell me that the conversations they had with attendees were much more detailed and serious, rather than “window shopping” types of conversations.

Looking forward to next time!

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