Friday, March 07, 2014

BI change is coming, time to get over it and get on with the job

One of the things that always stuns me in IT is how people don't appear to like change.  Whether it was the EAI folks pushing back on Web Services in 2000 in favour of their old-school approaches.  The package guys pushing back against SaaS or now the BI guys pushing back against the new wave of BI technologies and approaches the message is always the same:
We are happy doing what we are doing, its great, I've done it for years, I don't want to change
That really isn't a long term career plan in IT.  This is the industry where revolution happens on a regular basis.  That doesn't mean you shouldn't be a skeptic, everyone in IT should be a skeptic and really ask for new approaches to prove themselves.  Its why I still don't think REST is 'the answer' to integration, I just haven't seen it proven to work at scale in the enterprise.

Sometimes however you can see the wave coming.  The Internet was one obvious wave and its impact on the enterprise was huge.  Now however there is another wave that I feel is equally obvious.  The wall between operations and analytics, between transactional systems and BI systems is being smashed down.  Its a wall IT put there as its been cheaper and simpler for us to have it there, but the business doesn't want these worlds separate any more.

This means that change is inevitable.  This is a change in the information space which is analogous to the desktop PC impact over the previous mini and mainframe computer era.  The change is going to be large.

Its going to require

  • Joined up thinking between applications, transactions, processes, analytics and information
  • Its going to require thinking in the local context while enabling global governance
  • Its going to require new governance models that better match the business
  • Its going to require all speeds of analytics, and the ability to change the speed as the business demand evolves.
This is a big wave and you cannot stand Canute like on the beach wishing for it to go away.  Much better to embrace the change and start planning for it as that way you won't be washed away.

IT changes.... its why its useful and its why is an interesting business.  Right now BI is at the centre of one of the most exciting changes in 20 years, we should celebrate that and get on with making it happen because otherwise we will wake up in 5 years and find our company has either struggled to compete or fail, or has succeed despite of us.

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