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ebizQ's Business Agility Watch


Overcoming BI's Bad Reputation With Cloud BI: Talking with GoodData

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Listen to my podcast with Roman Stanek, the CEO and Founder of GoodData, a company dedicated to BI in the Cloud. In the podcast we discuss BI in the cloud, why it's so difficult, why BI has a bad reputation with some companies, and finally, Roman defines success in BI.

Listen to or download the 6:09 minute podcast below:

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PS: Can you give me a quick background on GoodData and how you came to start the company?

RS: Excellent. So I started GoodData back in 2007 and before GoodData I built a company called Systinet in the SOA architecture space. And my desire was to actually build a company that would apply SOA and clouds to business problem and I believe that BI is the last enterprise green field and the cloud is actually the right solution to many, many problems that BI has as an industry.

Now can you also give me a quick overview of BI in the cloud now?

Sure. So BI in the cloud is not BI moved to the cloud as much as Google Docs is not a hosted version of Microsoft Office. So I believe there are some different characteristics of BI in the cloud. BI in the cloud needs to be highly accessible. It needs to actually deal with different data and it also needs to deal with different audiences. And at the end of the day, with different velocity because data in the cloud changes so quickly. There is many more people who would like to see data in the cloud. And usually we deal with data that's actually being created by end users so that's why we actually sometimes don't call it BI in the cloud; we call it custom analytics.

How do you address the issue of some people that are hesitant to put their corporate data in the cloud?

That's exactly my point. We usually don't ask people to put their corporate data in the cloud. We usually work at companies and customers who already have data in the cloud. They have data in Salesforce.com and Marketo and Omniture, and Google Analytics, and I could go on and on and list many, many services of corporate data in the cloud. So it's the primary use case is to analyze data that's already there. And because companies focus more and more on their customers and customer analytics, they actually realize that the old BI that focuses on the back of this task is not up to the task to analyze customer data and that's why cloud BI is much more, I believe, better solution for data that's already in the cloud.

Now, seems like almost everyone has a BI tool or platform in the cloud. First of all, what's so difficult about BI in the cloud and how does GoodData do it differently?

BI is difficult on its own. BI is not a simple project to start, as everybody knows there's a 60% failure rate of any BI project. And what we're trying to do here is to build actually a multi-tenant BI solution. So solution that would actually scale not to just one or two customers but to scale across many, many hundreds and thousands of customers and projects. So it's the multi-tenancy that is on one hand very difficult to actually build and deliver. But on the other hand, multi-tenancy gives cloud BI a fundamentally different economics. A good analogy could be the difference between Seibel and Salesforce.com. Seibel costs millions, Salesforce.com costs 50 bucks per user so can make the same assumption about economics of cloud BI.

Why does BI have a bad reputation among business people and how can you change that?

I believe that it's because BI, even though it has "business" in its name it is actually fundamentally an IT initiative and I don't think that IT departments know how to solve business problems. IT departments are very good at solving IT problems. So BI shouldn't be about how big is my data warehouse and how much data did I collect and how big a version did I build because those lead to very brittle and not really widely used solutions. We usually say that enterprise data warehouse is the place where data goes to die and that's why BI has such a bad name because it's driven by IT, it's tethered to IT and its not readily being used by business users. So that's why focus on the business user and delegating the solution that business users can actually use, that can actually implement agility of cloud BI, the different economics, the different velocity, we believe that we can actually change that bad reputation of BI and give business users tools they actually need.

Now, can you just share some secrets of real world BI success?

Yeah, absolutely. So as I said, it's all about different audiences. We believe that the success of BI is when a company not only defines KPI but the company can also share KPIs and metrics with everybody in the company where every person who starts a notebook in the morning can actually see how they are doing in different metrics. So that's what's called metrics driven organizations and we see more and more companies to more to that space where they want to manage their business using widely distributed metrics and that will lead to world class BI implementation and success.

ebizQ’s expert blog team covers a broad range of BPM, business integration, business analytics/monitoring, collaboration, content and related issues.

Peter Schooff

Peter Schooff is Contributing Editor at ebizQ, and manager of the ebizQ Forum. Contact him at pschooff@techtarget.com

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