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Don't Call It a Comeback

Ted Cuzillo over at Information Management finds three tools that he wouldn't "call BI" 'cause... they focus on distinctly non-BI aspects of analytics: visualization, collaboration & search.

"Don't call it a comeback / I've been here for years."

Echoing what a lot of business users say about BI, Cuzillo comments: "Don’t bother me with petty distinctions between BI, analytics and decision support. I want meaning, not tools for their own sake - and here I see glimmers." Therein lies the rub about providing BI products and services. Business users are more interested in what value a BI tool can provide for them, not how it provides that value.

Of the applications he sees that he wouldn't call BI, there's Tableau, which presents data in more than just "rows & columns of Excel" ; a new offering from Lyzasoft, 

Lyza is three things, he explains. “It’s more of a content management tool than a BI tool, and it’s more of a social interface tool than a BI tool, and it’s more of a collaboration tool than a BI tool.” It doesn’t fit into a neat category.

Another tool, Endeca, started off as a search tool to rival Google,  but now powers ecommerce websites. Endeca's Latitude product utilizes its powerful search and index engine to "normalize" data without the need for complex data warehouse infrastructure. 

Major e-commerce sites have it running in the background, says Endeca’s Vice President of Enterprise Applications David Caruso. He says users “don’t even know they’re analyzing data.

I hate to admit it, but Ted makes a good point about the way Apple targets its products and the need for an Apple in business intelligence. "I wonder what Steve Jobs would have done with BI. The good news is that the industry, defined broadly, seems to have some of its own fresh, bright inventors emerging."

Just don't call it BI.