Not too long ago, business intelligence was pretty much defined by one application aimed at a single source of data that—if the right questions were asked—would reveal all. The problem was that another application aimed at a different source of data would reveal different answers to the same question.
As IT moves into a new era, the number of data sources available inside and out of the cloud has exploded. To make it possible to blend all that data into a single BI application, Pentaho, now officially a unit of Hitachi Data Systems (HDS), announced at the Hadoop Summit 2015 conference this week that its version 5.4 of its namesake application can now access data stored in the Amazon Elastic MapReduce cloud and the SAP HANA in-memory computing platform.
Chuck Yarbrough, director of Big Data product marketing for Pentaho, says the future of blended BI applications will span everything from implementations of Hadoop in the cloud (like AWS Elastic MapReduce) to real-time database platforms such as SAP HANA running on premise or in the cloud.
Ultimately, the ability to blend all those data sources should lead to better business decisions being made, so the whole argument over which data source holds the ultimate truth should finally be decided. The BI application itself will become smart enough to discover not only that there are discrepancies, but also which set of data is the most accurate.
It may still be a while before all that comes to pass, but the one thing that IT organizations should probably stop worrying about is the proliferation of data sources across the enterprise. It’s going to happen whether or not they like it. The question now is what to do at the application layer that not only mitigates the problem, but also turns all those data sources into a competitive business advantage.