New Frontiers in Business Intelligence

Nari Kannan

Embedded BI - Asking why BI should be a separate entity?

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Many ERP vendors are embedding Business Intelligence into their ERP applications themselves.

Doug Henschen wrote about some fascinating things happening in the ERP space - You Need Smarter Apps, where he outlines the efforts of companies like SAP, Oracle, SAS and IBM in this regard.

For example, your Financial Accounting application does Financial Business Intelligence and does prediction of your Financial KPIs.

Your Sales and Marketing Modules do their own Business Intelligence and even predict your sales using the data being collected.

This is a most laudable goal- asking why BI should be a separate entity?

Traditionally in a time of slower computers and expensive computing, it made sense to separate BI into a parallel function done in batch mode.

But in a time of cheaper, faster processors and memory, it only makes sense to roll BI into the applications themselves.

The only place where I see this running into problems is where a company might be using Oracle Financials, SAP manufacturing and PeopleSoft for HR.

Taking data across these applications and creating consolidated BI across these different kinds of data may still be a bear. SOA Integration may ease some of this burden and make consolidated BI possible also in the future.

Interesting developments and questions, nonetheless!

It is wiser to find out than to suppose - Mark Twain

1 Comment

Good thoughts.

IMNSHO: Yes, BI should be centered on applications. And ERP apps are more important, in some ways, than BI, since they manage the processes that run your business. But the BI-as-an-ERP-function route isn't ideal.

A few things to consider:

The only place where I see this running into problems is where a company might be using Oracle Financials, SAP manufacturing and PeopleSoft for HR.

This is a very common situation. And don't forget the specialized apps running parallel to the big guys.

Also, one size really doesn't fit all in BI. A decade ago, specialist vendors built analytic applications that were supposed to give a jump start on BI; unfortunately, the customization needed made them almost as much of a hindrance as a help.

Finally, if we're supposed to be "competing on analytics", then you don't want a cookie-cutter solution. Analytics should be tailored to your business strategy, to your differentiators, to your competitive angle. Historically, ERP vendors have shown that they're going to provide least-common-denominator solutions.

Full disclosure: I work for one of the last remaining independent BI vendors, Information Builders. Part of the reason I'm here is that I think people will continue to realize the value of independent BI.

Nari Kannan's blog explores how new approaches to business intelligence can help organizations improve the performance of business processes--whether these processes are creative or operational, internally-focused or customer-facing, intra-departmental or across functions.

Nari Kannan

Nari Kannan started and serves as the CEO of appsparq, a Mobile Applications development company based in Louisville, KY with offices in Singapore and India. Nari has over two decades of experience in computer systems development, translating product and service strategy into meaningful technology solutions, and both people and product development. Prior to this, he has served as both Chief Technology Officer and Vice President- Engineering in six successful startups, two of which he co-founded. He has proven experience in building companies, engineering teams, and software solutions from scratch in the United States and India. Prior to this, Nari started Ajira Technologies, Inc., in Pleasanton, CA, where he served as Chief Executive Officer for more than six years. While at Ajira, Nari was instrumental in developing service process management solutions that modeled, monitored, and analyzed business processes, initially targeting the Business Process Outsourcing (BPO), Telecom, and Banking verticals in India, and Finance, Insurance, and Healthcare verticals in the United States. Prior to this, he served as VP-Engineering at Ensenda, an ASP for local delivery services. He also served variously as Chief Technology Officer or VP-Engineering at other Bay-Area venture funded startups such as Kadiri and Ensera. He began his career at Digital Equipment Corporation as a Senior Software Engineer. Nari has a long involvement with Customer Support and other customer facing processes. At Digital Equipment Corporation he was involved with their 1800 person customer support center in Colorado Springs, Colorado. He was tasked with coming up with innovative tools to help customer support people do their jobs better. He holds a U.S patent for a software invention that automatically redirected email requests for customer support to the right group by digesting the contents of the request and guessing at which software or hardware support group is best equipped to handle it. At Ensera, he led a 45 person team in developing an internet based ASP service for handling auto insurance claims, coordinating information flow between end-customers, Insurance companies, Repair shops and Parts suppliers. Ensera was acquired by Mitchell Corporation in San Diego. Nari holds a B.S. degree in Physics from Loyola College, and an M.B.A degree from the University of Madras in Madras, India. He graduated with a M.S. degree in Computer Science from the University of Massachusetts at Amherst in 1985. Contact Information: Nari Kannan. Email: nari@appsparq.com Mobile: 925 353 0197. Website: www.appsparq.com View more .

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