Confused About BI? Get the mrc BI Feature Guide
July 9, 2013 Alex Woodie
We are in the midst of a business intelligence (BI) revolution. Exotic data stores like NoSQL and Hadoop and massive in-memory systems like Hana are giving big organizations incredible analytical capabilities. But these solutions are overkill for most smaller shops. For a small shop dipping its toe in the BI waters for the first time, mrc offers a refresher course on the essential features.
In its guide, titled “Essential Features of a Good Business Intelligence Solution,” mrc gets back to BI basics. What constitutes a good BI architecture? What are the must-have BI features? What advanced features would be nice to have, but are not essential? And what about security in a BI system?
Michaels, Ross and Cole answers these questions in good time with its 15-page guide. The guide starts out with an overview of high-level features, and explains what users should look for in the areas of architecture, database support, real-time data integration, self-service capabilities, application importing, and mobile support.
The Chicago-based vendor of IBM i app dev tools should be applauded for dedicating an entire section of its guide to the topic of security, which is all too often ignored in the context of BI applications. Put simply: Unless you are perfectly fine with sharing all of your reports with everybody in the organization–from the president to the janitor–then you need security. On top of that, things like single sign-on and user tracking may be nice to have when dealing with information that is critical to the competitive stance of an organization.
The next section, “Must-have Applications,” can be printed out and carried with you when shopping for a BI product. Core BI capabilities that absolutely must be present include items like ad-hoc reporting. Things like executive dashboards, pivot tables, and what if analyses–BI features that mrc’s app dev tool, m-Power, coincidentally is quite adept at generating–may also be on the wish list.
The step-up features that may be nice to have but aren’t essential includes things like alerting, collaboration, and cloud capability. As an organization’s use of BI grows, these nice-to-have features may become more attractive.
Mrc has been providing IBM i shops with BI capabilities for years, first with its 4GL tool and later with its Java-generating m-Power dev tool, so the company is not a newbie when it comes to shaping raw data into actionable information.
“We see so much confusion surrounding the topic of business intelligence,” Sal Stangarone, mrc’s senior product consultant, says in a press release. “Companies don’t fully understand all of the terminology and their available options. Hopefully, this BI guide will educate these companies, and help them avoid any costly mistakes.”
The company allowing people to download the report for free (i.e., without parting with your precious personal information) during the month of July. The report can be found at www.mrc-productivity.com/Research/BIPaper.pdf.