BI Tools Adding Advanced Data Capabilities, but Beware: Governance Lags

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    BI is about to take a big step forward, and a major driver for new capabilities will be self-service data integration capabilities, according to Jamil Rashdi, a senior infrastructure development manager.

    Rashdi, a veteran IT leader and cloud infrastructure architect, takes a look at this year’s business intelligence self-service trends. Of course, BI is by its nature self-serve, but as he points out, that’s primarily been limited to simpler data discovery functions such as search, dashboards and visualization tools.

    New advancements are pushing well beyond these self-serve features, he writes. Advancements in both BI and analytics solutions “are significantly broadening the scope of self-service BI” to include data preparation and manipulation tools — including ETL and data wrangling, or lightweight tools for transforming, integrating and cleansing data.

    BI tools are also adapting to support both structured and unstructured data, and data storytelling, among other capabilities, he adds.

    “Consequently, self-service BI will account for seamless and expedient data integration between any number of data assets within and outside of the enterprise, granting the business user more control over BI than ever before,” Rashdi states.

    “The projected impact of these tools is highly significant, giving the business user access to different types of data and integration options while expediting one of the most important aspects of Business Intelligence.”

    In short, business users will be able to integrate more data sources — including data now stored in cloud systems and other external data sets.

    Rashdi also explains how storyboards and story lines differ from visualizations and dashboards. He discusses other BI trends, including automated event triggers, future support for the Internet of Things, and how cloud integration will enable more self-serve data aggregation and processing.

    Clearly, business users are hungry for self-serve data, but caveat emptor, CIOs and business leaders. In the rush to give end users more data capabilities, vendors have left a “glaring need” for data governance, writes SearchBusinessAnalytics’ Ed Burns.

    “While self-service tools can provide businesses users with a simple way to access and analyze data, they also can give them the ability to feed bad data back into enterprise data stores, silo off important insights or publish information that should be kept private,” Burns writes. “The need for improved data governance in self-service settings has touched off a race among software vendors to see who can get to the governance finish line first.”

    Burns outlines what vendors are doing to address the gap, but until everyone’s on board, be sure to ask about data governance when assessing self-serve BI or analytics tools.

    Loraine Lawson is a veteran technology reporter and blogger. She currently writes the Integration blog for IT Business Edge, which covers all aspects of integration technology, including data governance and best practices. She has also covered IT/Business Alignment and IT Security for IT Business Edge. Before becoming a freelance writer, Lawson worked at TechRepublic as a site editor and writer, covering mobile, IT management, IT security and other technology trends. Previously, she was a webmaster at the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet and a newspaper journalist. Follow Lawson at Google+ and on Twitter.

    Loraine Lawson
    Loraine Lawson
    Loraine Lawson is a freelance writer specializing in technology and business issues, including integration, health care IT, cloud and Big Data.

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