Caught (some of) the virtual launch of SAP BusinessObjects Business Intelligence Platform 4.0 this morning. We’ll just call it #BI4 or BI4 from here on in. Obviously being distracted by technical issues (which I won’t belabor here – Twitter handled that plenty well) and my 3 year old son who stayed home with me today due to a flood in his daycare room made me miss some stuff, but I’m not willing to let that slow me.
Loved Geoffrey Moore’s keynote (or at least parts of it). I’ve been hearing for years THAT enterprise systems need to be more like social networking sites, but not HOW or WHY. His comparison between a system of record and a system of engagement really hit home with me. The thing I feel we are still missing is how to get everyone to buy in. Most of the power of Facebook and twitter and Google is that everyone is there and using it and putting in. How do you engage your entire enterprise audience to enrich the experience of others? How do you reach that critical mass?
Steve Lucas, even choppy and with questionable sound, is still really engaging, and the tech is no-doubt very, very cool. One thing that all of these new tools seem to gloss over is the need for top notch analysts. I recognize that sentiment analysis works on the high level and all that, but I’m not sure too many CEOs are thrilled with the prospect of IT solutions that are MOSTLY right. If I Google something, especially regarding facts and figures, I get answers that are often very different. While having a lot of data is great, and getting data fast is better, getting data that is right is paramount (full disclosure: I ripped off almost all of that quote from Steve).
In order to get the single version of the truth that we in BI have been selling for years, and which is still the Holy Grail for most organizations, adding a lot more data without adding the analysts necessary to vet it out doesn’t really help the problem. BI4 definitely has tools that can help you turn ‘FLA’ and ‘Flor.’ to ‘FLORIDA’, but I still don’t see anything that helps you say “Plant A says they made $2 million last month, and accounting says they had #1 million, and I know absolutely which one of those numbers is right” (FYI, generally speaking, NEITHER of those numbers is right). Good data will always require analysts, and as the amount of data grows, the amount of analysts has to grow. Maybe the next big leap for data cleansing in BI is for a SOX-compliant way to have analysts quickly jump through data, bless some, curse some, and flag some for follow up, and have that trail follow all the way through.
- How slow will Flash be on the Playbook?
- Webi on the iPad is hot. Don’t underestimate the possibility that said functionality alone may push companies into BI4.
- If SAP is thinking of pushing HANA to non-BW customers sooner rather than later, why was I hearing as recently as the beginning of the Run Better Tour that I need to go to Sybase IQ right now? Please clean up your message soon. Like “before I write the wrong check” soon.
- Hopefully Explorer Views will help it take off. Still have never understood why it hasn’t taken off more. Seems to me like it has been the “killer app” in waiting for years.
Overall, I think the tech is awesome, but I’m still not sure it delivers as much out of the box as it promises, but I do think this version of SAP’s Business Intelligence offering has enough going for it that it will pull people forward into it (and thankfully away from Deski) more than we’ve ever seen.
And as always, thanks for sticking with my extremely topical but barely edited commentary on an event from a thousand miles away.