Friday, January 10, 2014

Barry Devlin: Business unIntelligence

Argues Dr Barry Devlin in his new book, Business unIntelligence: Insight and Innovation beyond Analytics and Big Data (2013):
The big data affair is coming to an end. The romance is over. Business is looking distraught in its silver Porsche, IT disheveled in the red Ferrari. Of course, it wasn’t just the big data. It started long ago when IT couldn’t deliver the data and business looked elsewhere to PCs and spreadsheets. It’s time for business and IT to renew their vows and start working on renewing their marriage of convenience.

When data warehousing was conceived in the 1980s, the goal was simple: understanding business results across multiple application systems. When BI was born in the 1990s, business needs were straightforward: report results speedily and accurately and allow business to explore possible alternatives. IT struggled to adapt. The 2000s brought demands for real-time freedom: the ability to embed BI in operations and vice versa. The current decade has opened the floodgates to other information, shared with partners and sourced on the Web. Divorce seemed imminent, IT outsourced.

But, almost invisibly, beyond the walls of this troubled marriage, a new world has emerged. A biz-tech ecosystem has evolved where business and IT must learn to practice intimate, ongoing symbiosis. Business visions meet technology limitations. IT possibilities clash with business budgets. And still, new opportunities emerge, realized only when business and IT cooperate in their creation—from conception to maturity. The possibilities seem boundless. But the new limits that do exist are beyond traditional capital and labor. The boundaries are imposed by the realities of life on this small blue planet afloat in an inky vacuum, with its limited and increasingly fragile resources and the tenuous ability of its people to survive and thrive in harmony with nature—within and without.

For the corporate world, Business unIntelligence will succeed when it brings insight into business workings, innovation into business advances, and integration into business and IT organizations. But in the broader context, in the real world in which we all must live, our success in the social enterprise that is business can be measured first and foremost in the survival of the cultures and communities of alleged intelligent man, homo sapiens, as well as all the other creatures of this tiny planet, and finally in our willingness to limit our growth and greediness and embrace the good inherent in each of us. It becomes incumbent on each and every one of us to integrate the rational and the intuitive, the individual and the empathic. To take stock of our personal decision making and reimage it in the vision of the world we want to bequeath to our children.
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We live in a world where information technology (IT) and enterprises (including governments) are landing in unexplored territories, where the rules of technological governance are colliding with the forces of decency across societies in real-time. Indeed, we live in exciting times...

Source: Devlin, B (2013), Business unIntelligence: Insight and Innovation beyond Analytics and Big Data, Perfect Paperback.

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