The New School of BI: An Agile BI Practical Guide

According to The Data Warehousing Institute (TDWI), “Agile business intelligence addresses a broad need to enable flexibility by accelerating the time it takes to deliver value with BI projects.”

Essentially, TDWI’s definition of Agile BI is doing more in less time. Of course, that sounds very appealing, but the question is: How does Agile BI accomplish more in less time?

As a pioneer in Agile BI, Pentaho has interviewed several customers using our Agile BI solution and have found that the most effective approach to BI includes the following actions:

  • Creating smaller projects that add up to the big picture
  • Rapidly deploying the initial solution, focusing on a few reports or metrics at a time
  • Building on that foundation with frequent iterations and checkpoints
  • Facilitating constant collaboration between Business and IT  throughout the life of the project

By starting small and growing bigger through multiple iterations, Agile BI creates a rapid development environment for BI project teams and avoids keeping IT working in a vacuum. These projects stay on track and improve over time through constant collaboration between business and technical users.

Unfortunately, most of practitioners still approach BI the old-school way. This is due to the industry culture, outdated skills in the market and access to only traditional/proprietary BI tools that have dominated the market for the past 10 to 20 years.

The times have changed. The BI buyer now has several options such as: Data Discovery tools, Cloud-based and hosted solutions, and unified Data Integration and Visualization platforms. The new school rules have opened the playing field making it easier for BI practitioners to be more productive and get something up and running quickly.

Download the Agile BI Practical Guide – How to Lead your BI Project with a Brand New Approach which was developed from interviewing our customers who have previous experience with other BI tools before choosing Pentaho. The guide summarizes the top three major reasons that BI projects fail and describes a simple four-step process for solving these issues.

If you are attending TDWI World Conference in San Diego this week make sure to stop by our booth (#209) to learn more about Pentaho Agile BI.

– Farnaz Erfan, Pentaho, Product Marketing

This blog was originally posted on Business Intelligence from the Swamp.

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Strata Conference – What Were People Excited About?

Last week, Pentaho was a sponsor at The Strata Conference in San Francisco, California. Over the two-day conference our booth was constantly packed with attendees. As I chatted with these eager visitors, I was pleased to hear comments such as: “My boss has asked me to look into Pentaho,” and “We currently have product X and we are looking into solutions that are easy to use and don’t charge an arm and a leg for it.” As I was demoing the Pentaho BI Suite Enterprise Edition, one thing was clear … the line between business users and technical users is fading fast!Everyone wants access to data, but not everyone has it. Technical users, the ETL and BI developers, spend all their time on working with data, integrating, cleansing, standardizing, and analyzing it, but the business users need their data in a different way. Data gives these business users power. The days of traditional BI when IT was building standard reports and pushing it out to business users are over. Canned reports are too slow to arrive, too limited on the information they provide, and often are too far out from what the business needed in the first place.Business users want the power and flexibility to work with their data, and to compare and contrast anything to everything. But they want an intuitive and easy way to work with their data, similar to the tools they are most familiar with such as Excel pivot tables. This became all very clear as I was demoing the Pentaho BI Suite Enterprise Edition. The reaction of people to Pentaho Analyzer was right on the money. Pentaho Analyzer has the same look and feel as Excel spreadsheets, with an easy drag and drop capability to pull business data (customers, sales, orders, payments, time, region, territory, etc.) up to the canvas and slice and dice it to the heart’s desire. “Why not Excel?” one attendee asked me. The answer is simple….Because you can see the changes that your colleagues or IT staff make to data, immediately, without having to cross-check, guess, or ask about. Your Excel data is as good as it once was!

Pentaho Analyzer’s easy to use and intuitive ad hoc analysis capabilities, with hyperlinks for drill through to detailed transaction data behind the scenes, along with its strong charting capabilities and the flexibility to turn your final analysis results into Excel, PDF or any other popular format, topped it all off. I was pleased to see a lot of nods as I was demoing the software, a confirmation to Pentaho’s focus, strategy, and roadmap.

For a free 30 day evaluation of the Pentaho BI Suite (including Pentaho Analyzer), please go to http://www.pentaho.com/download/

For additional highlights from the Strata conference read blog by Ian Fyfe, Thoughts on last week’s Strata Conference.

This blog was originally posted on Business Intelligence from the Swamp.

Last week, Pentaho was a sponsor at The Strata Conference in San Francisco, California. Over the two-day conference our booth was constantly packed with attendees. As I chatted with these eager visitors, I was pleased to hear comments such as: “My boss has asked me to look into Pentaho,” and “We currently have product X and we are looking into solutions that are easy to use and don’t charge an arm and a leg for it.” As I was demoing the Pentaho BI Suite Enterprise Edition, one thing was clear … the line between business users and technical users is fading fast!Everyone wants access to data, but not everyone has it. Technical users, the ETL and BI developers, spend all their time on working with data, integrating, cleansing, standardizing, and analyzing it, but the business users need their data in a different way. Data gives these business users power. The days of traditional BI when IT was building standard reports and pushing it out business users are over. Canned reports are too slow to arrive, too limited on the information they provide, and often are too far out from what the business needed in the first place.Business users want the power and flexibility to work with their data, and to compare and contrast anything to everything. But they want an intuitive and easy way to work with their data, similar to the tools they are most familiar with such as Excel pivot tables. This became all very clear as I was demoing the Pentaho BI Suite Enterprise Edition. The reaction of people to Pentaho Analyzer was right on the money. Pentaho Analyzer has the same look and feel as Excel spreadsheets, with an easy drag and drop capability to pull business data (customers, sales, orders, payments, time, region, territory, etc.) up to the canvas and slice and dice it to the heart’s desire. “Why not Excel?” one attendee asked me. The answer is simple….Because you can see the changes that your colleagues or IT staff make to data, immediately, without having to cross-check, guess, or ask about. Your Excel data is as good as it once was!

Pentaho Analyzer’s easy to use and intuitive ad hoc analysis capabilities, with hyperlinks for drill through to detailed transaction data behind the scenes, along with its strong charting capabilities and the flexibility to turn your final analysis results into Excel, PDF or any other popular format, topped it all off. I was pleased to see a lot of nods as I was demoing the software, a confirmation to Pentaho’s focus, strategy, and roadmap.

For additional highlights from the Strata conference read blog by Ian Fyfe, Thoughts on last week’s Strata Conference.

For a free 30 day evaluation of the Pentaho BI Suite (including Pentaho Analyzer), please go to http://www.pentaho.com/download/

Farnaz Erfan
Product Marketing Manager
Pentaho Corporation