BI Trends

Business Intelligence and the Action Gap

By Steven Schneider
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The post was originally published by Logi Analytics’ VP of sales and business development, Steven Schneider, on his blog, Slinging Software

Since the term Business Intelligence (BI) was coined back in 1989 by Howard Dresner, the majority of effort spent in the BI market has been to find more efficient ways of gathering data, synthesizing information, and distributing that back out to decision makers in the form of reports, dashboards, and analysis capabilities.

We’ve ended up with charts galore, multi-dimensional cubes, static reports, interactive reports, drill-downs, and all sorts of interesting ways to explore information.

Unfortunately, little innovation has occurred at the next logical step, and that is that people need to actually take action as a result of the information they get. And that step, today, is often logically separated from the place we get information.  It is in this gap, what I like to call the action gap, where an opportunity exists for disruption in the BI market.

The problem is that traditional BI applications are separate from the applications where we do our work.  Separate in user interface, separate in security, separate in application context, separate in time frame (old data vs. current), and often it isn’t even clear how a particular piece of information maps back to the transactional system in which it originated.   This means action is delayed and results on that action are even further delayed. People leave one application context and go into another – information is lost, and user adoption suffers.

What is exciting about this from a vendor standpoint is that traditional BI stacks can’t fix this limitation even if they wanted to. Their limitations in this area are due to the core of their design and nothing short of a complete re-thinking will allow them to fix this problem.

What we need are BI capabilities that are embedded within the applications end-users use already, with content delivered in the contextual environment where people do their jobs, and permit those users to take action (through database write-back), directly.  This is the concept of embedded BI, and it is something I intend to make a lot of noise about in 2013 because it’s something we do really well.

Follow Steven Schneider on Twitter @slingingsw


Originally published January 28, 2013; updated on August 10th, 2017

About the Author

Steven Schneider is the CEO of Logi Analytics, where he brings more than 15 years of technology leadership experience. Steven has previously served as both Chief Operating Officer and Chief Product Officer at Logi, where he led the sales, product, engineering, marketing, and customer success teams. Prior to Logi, he was a founding partner of OnDemandIQ, a Hosted Business Intelligence solution, and a practice manager at leading web technology company Proxicom. Steven holds a BS in Computer Science from Virginia Tech and an MBA from the University of Southern California.