The basic argument is that BI is due for a revolution. I agree. In the nearly 5 years since I left Business Objects, the innovations that I see from “the other side” are few and far between. In fact, I’d argue the whole software industry is so tied up managing the aftermath of consolidation that it’s basically forgotten about innovation.
Consolidation might be good for market share, profitability, and maybe — if I’m in a good mood — integration, but innovation has suffered. This, by the way, helps explain why I’m at an early-stage private company. Not only do I personally prefer innovation, but I think there’s a large innovation gap in the top mega-vendor offerings, which leaves plenty of room for technology disruptors like us.
I particularly liked the linkage Curt made to Google Wave. Now, by the way, I think if Google could have shortened the one-hour twenty-minute “overview” video to say, 15 minutes, we’d have seen a bigger uptick in GDP this quarter because almost everyone I know has somehow found 80 minutes to watch the thing. And, while cool, I think it’s easily explained in 15 minutes. (Think of the productivity losses! And that’s not including all the time wasted telling “if you feel like applauding at any time, just go ahead” jokes.)
By the way, if you feel like applauding at any time while reading this blog, just go ahead.
In any case, I think Curt makes an excellent point: if you want to see something innovative, go look at Google Wave. Then ask yourself when was the last time that any BI vendor proposed something as disruptive/innovative as that?
The answer, in my maximum curmudgeonly opinion, is around 1990, when Business Objects introduced the semantic layer. Everything after that, including the decade it took to get reasonable web re-implementations, has been incremental. Most everything else has been acquisition (e.g., EPM, text mining, ETL) and integration.