BI 2.0 Means Change for IT

BI 2.0 isn't about giving up control, as many IT departments fear. But experts say that BI 2.0 most definitely changes what IT does.

"These kinds of technologies that put more capabilities in users' hands place IT in the enabling infrastructure business," says Bob Eve, a vice president at Composite Software Inc. "What IT needs to be doing is providing techniques and tools so end users can get to data and do what they need to do with it without programming.

"The people who use search and Excel spreadsheets every day are perfectly capable of analyzing data," he adds. "They just need to be able to find it and access it. If IT can make that easy for them and tie it together in a simple process, it is going to really open doors."

IDC analyst Dan Vesset puts it this way: "The goal is to get IT out of developing user interfaces and get them more involved in data quality and data integration."

Specifically, Vesset says IT should be focusing on creating better data governance and detailing a catalog of BI assets from which end users can pull data.

"The issue is not in the technology," he says. "Data and processes need to be well defined. The issues are around defining data sources and who has the right to look at data."

The last thing IT should do is try to fight emerging BI technologies by prohibiting them in an effort to enforce standards, warns Gartner analyst Kurt Schlegel.

"This policy didn't work with 'spreadmarts' [out-of-control spreadsheets], and it won't work with these emerging technologies," he says.

Instead, Schlegel says, IT should incorporate these emerging technologies into the standard BI architecture to prevent business units from adopting them to create "rogue" analytic applications.

In addition, Schlegel advises centralized BI teams that might be overwhelmed with BI project requests to exploit the new technologies as part of a self-service BI strategy to reduce costs and speed up delivery.

Copyright © 2008 IDG Communications, Inc.

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