Most web applications built on Java or .Net have built in reports that allow the key stakeholders to see how the application behaves with respect to their goals and KPIs. Traditionally these reports are defined with the software requirements and are manually coded in.
But all this is about to change in ways that can cause wide impact. Over the last few years, Microsoft has been deliberately building up their Business Intelligence services into their MS SQL server software. I believe that these services will make Microsoft SQL server the database of choice for small and midsize companies. Why? Because of two main reasons:
a) With these services, Microsoft, which has traditionally been a strong contender in the SME segment, has effectively combined a transactional database and data warehouse into one server. This has significant implications with respect to both, cost of licenses, and the IT infrastructure that is required (both in terms of hardware and people). Now customers don’t have to spend on expensive BI tool licenses such as Cognos, Web focus, etc. when they come to Stylus as Stylus uses MS SQL database server for all customer’s applications and SSIS, SSAS, SSRS all come as free add on services with MS SQL enterprise edition.
b) Secondly and more importantly it allows for the creation of what we call the “intelligent business applications”. These are applications that not only have clear linkages to one or more business level KPIs, but they also allow the business users to do their own analysis and create their own reports. If customers already have existing applications built with MS SQL and require further customization, Stylus is well equipped to handle it, as it understands the advantages of MS SQL over the other BI tools available. To illustrate our expertise, please click here, to learn how healthcare BI services developed by Stylus can help improve a hospital’s operations, productivity and profitability.
But has this been a core feature of any BI solutions in the past? Yes, but the important thing to note here is that this will become (IMHO) an integral part of every software application that comes out in the near future (at the very least, that will be the case for every software we make at Stylus). BI will no longer be a separate technology with it’s own army of high priests (read Data warehousing experts) and prophets (read BI analysts) but an essential component of every software application that the business will use, be it ERP, CRM, MIS etc. In addition with minimal extra work, users will be able to quickly connect these individual KPIs (from separate applications) into Performance Management Dashboards that give a quick view of not just their performance but the Performance of the area of the business they are responsible for.
Now if that isn’t change you can believe in, I don’t know what is.