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Is it time for Business Intelligence to retire? – Part III

Now that we have discussed the past (Is it time for Business Intelligence to retire? – Part I) and a possible future (Is it time for Business Intelligence to retire? – Part II), what can we save as final message? That is what we are going to discuss in this post.

That the immediate future holds us the capability of merging some of the analytical capabilities directly into our core transactional systems, is no secret.

Actually, according to SAP announcement back in October 2012, they already have their CRM software running powered by their SAP HANA and more recently announced in February 2013, even their famous ERP solutions is now powered by SAP HANA. Those announcements would allow for transactional and analytical capabilities in the same solution.

However, as we have explored during this article, some important constrains still provide difficult on implementing this new architecture to replace Business Intelligence today (and in the future):

  1. Not all relevant data is – or will ever be – stored on internal and formalized sources;
  2. Data volume and the “Huge Data” will be a challenge in the next few years;
  3. The lack of flexibility of the combined transactional/analytical approach will present a barrier to be overcome in the near future;
  4. Although technology costs are more accessible nowadays, due to the sizing and complexity required to hold combined transactional/analytical approach, it is still a limitation factor;
  5. The maturity level of several organizations all over the world could work as a decelerator factor for the successful implementation of the combined transactional/analytical approach.

As BI will not retire for now, it is important that we – BI professionals all over the world – understand the full potentials and consequences of the new available technologies (from a hardware and software perspective) to be able to propose, design and implement solutions to take the most advantage and business benefit out of it.

It is important to understand which BI or analytical characteristics and tasks could be absorbed by transactional/analytical existing solutions. In order to support this exercise, I have listed a few examples:

  • For more efficient marketing campaigns, the assignation of customers to predefined clustering groups in order to define pertinent target audiences for different marketing campaigns;
  • For the determination of fraud patterns and real-time monitoring of PoS operations in order to determine, on the spot, suspicious operations;
  • For real-time monitoring of the sales quotas of each division or sales person in a friendly user interface, like a mobile device, for example.
  • For real-time simulation on the impact of a specific group of decisions on the overall organization’s budget.

It is, however, important to bear in mind that BI is not only about tools, as we have defined previously: “Business Intelligence is a collection of concepts, tools and software” and even more, it was created in order to fulfill business requirements.

As building a faster and more fuel efficient car will never extinguish the need for transportation, the simple fact that a more powerful and faster solution has come to existence will not eliminate the need for Business Intelligence. It may change the need or bring it to a whole new level based on the new possibilities it will make possible.

With the current possibilities and capabilities in mind, let us make sure we will create the best present there is to be created and then, let us challenge the boundaries of what Business Intelligence may yet become.

I cannot wait to read your comments, so bring it on!

Best regards

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  • Eduardo, Good Series of articles.

    It is interesting How SAP gonna make HANA to be available for both OLTP and OLAP systems!

    I, my self feel that SAP is going crazy and full experimented mode with HANA!!!!


    Kiran N

    • Hi Kiran Thanks for your comment. I believe SAP is not crazy when saying it is possible to put oltp and Olap in a single server. Hasso has some compelling statistics in favor of that 🙂 I'd recommend HPI open course for those interested   The fact is: putting those worlds together will not suppress the need of data warehousing and bi tools 🙂
      • Thanks Eduardo. 🙂

        Yes.. I too agree with HPI courses and i used to follow. I mean to say SAP is now relying and doing much research HANA and Data base technologies. 🙂


        Kiran N

  • Hi Eduardo

    thanks a lot for posting this kind of blogs from these blogs only, we (not much experienced people of sap bi) used to know that intresting things.

    Keep posting...:)

  • Hi, Eduardo, Good articles!

    There are, today, some business rules applied in the BI systems.      So besides all reasons you pointed in a appropriate way, one challenge for the future architecture Erp with HANA and BO frontend (as example) is to incorporate these transformations and business rules not included in the ERP.

    Big data/ Huge data , considered social medias as facebook, twiiter, etc, also demands a side approach, which is already being applied.     The challenge for the organizations is to have the structure to do this analysis inside the company, instead of buying it done.    When buying something ready, you may miss some key advantages.    For example, you may buy a research which includes Company name.      In this case, you may miss entries where the company receives a nickname from the customers, and all related postings.

    Indeed business inteligence exists to help business to achieve the results, with the best customer satisfaction and profit balance.    The idea to achieve this is changing as you have described in your articles; the need is still there, and now can be achieved in more and interesting ways.     This means that we all need to reinvent ourselves all the time, and the good news is there is no space to be bored!

    Kind Regards, Elizabeth Sacknus - BI and SD consultant.