Business intelligence vendors and experts agree that users of BI tools should be able to consume data in the format they need it for their individual jobs without being troubled about where it lives or what it looks like living wherever.
Companies like Vancouver-based Indicee built a service-based BI layer designed to sit atop data sources like databases and spreadsheets. And, data integration expert David Linthicum touts data virtualization as a way to abstract physical instances of data sources so the user has a virtual layer on which to interact with data regardless of where it resides.
For BI tools to reach the masses, it’s necessary that all manner of user need not think about the context in which data lives. An analyst might care about data sources because he or she has been trained to understand them, but the average front line worker should only be served data in the form they require it.
But while BI vendors recognize this, I often hear the hurdle is designing simple tools all workers can actually understand and use with user-friendly interfaces based on familiar functionality. So while data can increasingly be served in a cleaner, more personalized manner, what good is it if user interfaces stand in the way of that data?