Monday, May 06, 2013

Software Developers are you ready for the cage fight with the BI guys?

In all of my career to date in IT there really has been three clear worlds in IT, the software development guys who are the bespoke tailors, the package guys who deliver off the shelf and the BI guys.

I'm going to admit a prejudice here.  Until a couple of years ago my impression of BI guys was folks who were one step up from Excel guys.  It was dead-data and done in batches, sure it had to be done but it really wasn't gool.  The BI guys couldn't handle the operational requirements of the software developers and we really were not interested in Cubes, Star-Schemas and all of the stuff they did to generate what was basically an Excel spreadsheet on steroids.

Now having spent some more time on that side of the fence I've come to respect it more, but there is now an interesting evolution.  Contextual BI.  That is where BI guys talk about integrating BI and Analytics information back into operational processes.  In other words its BI guys talking about integrating to SAP and integrating into BPM and integrating into operational applications generally.

An IT turf war is about to break-out.  I'd argue that the software development guys have a bit of an advantage here, what is the current 'cool kids' BI tool?  Its Hadoop.  What do you need to know to really grok Hadoop?  Yup Java, a software development language.  Software Dev guys grok agile in a way that few BI guys do and are used to getting down into operational requirements.

But we suck at analytics and its massively expensive to develop the sorts of visualisations that BI guys get out of the box.  So this means its either a case of one side taking over the other, or we are going to have to co-operate... and I actually think this is the way forwards.  Software Development guys know how to do real-time scaling and operations, its not a trivial skill, and the BI guys know how to get us the right information into our processes and have the right visualisation tools.

So Software Developers out there its time to reach out and embrace your BI cousins and start looking at how you can work together to create an information fabric which spans the analytical models on historical data, supplements it with real-time analytics and then integrates that back into the operational process.  I know this collaboration is going to be hard and we've all got to get over prejudices to make this happen but the business is demanding it so we need to get it done.  Start thinking about information as a seemless infrastructure where delivery to the point of action is the challenge not delivery to a report.  Software Developers and BI guys working together can create this and deliver a real information fabric to the enterprise.

And don't worry Software Developers and BI guys will still have a common enemy, I'm not crazy, its still perfectly ok to not get on with the package guys.

1 comment:

Rashmi said...

Insightful post is shared by you.
Thanks! software development india