BI Trends

Traditional and Agile BI: Rigid versus Responsive

By Mark Lockwood
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Traditional business intelligence (BI) was originally built to service structured, repetitive tasks – activities like basic financial reporting. These were routine decisions or manual processes with static requirements where the benefits were primarily measured in increased staff efficiency. Unsurprisingly, the architecture of these traditional BI tools grew to mirror the scope of their tasks – highly structured and rigid.

The use of BI capabilities has come a long way since then. In today’s increasingly interconnected and transparent digital environment, companies are expected to use robust, data-driven analyses for the vast majority of corporate decision making – everything from inventory optimization to new market entry. Companies can no longer afford to myopically limit their BI capabilities to basic, tactical decisions that only occur in mature, stable environments.

Rigid is Out

In a rapidly evolving digital landscape, traditional BI has been notorious for long implementation times, sketchy ROI, and high project failure rates. At the same time, the emergence of architectural innovations like cloud computing and columnar databases has fundamentally changed IT development methodologies and architectures. Traditional BI architecture has needlessly sacrificed agility to solve antiquated performance barriers.

Responsive is In

Agile business intelligence embraces rapid, iterative development and the commoditization of data storage to provide a flexible and scalable BI architecture. This agile architecture allows organizations to quickly adapt to changing business requirements while reducing total cost of ownership. As a result, companies are able to rapidly and affordably respond to changing market conditions. In short, agile BI delivers on the IT mantra of “do more with less.”

Positioning for the Future

Agile BI’s flexibility, scalability and affordability are revolutionizing the way companies use BI in the same way cloud computing transformed the way we look at data storage. An agile architecture is foundational to delivering next-generation BI capabilities like self-service, mobile and big data. As companies increasingly demand BI solutions that deliver competitive insights in an accessible manner to a broader audience, the adoption of agile BI is an imperative rather than an elective.


Originally published August 5, 2014; updated on August 10th, 2017

About the Author

Mark is the Director of Customer Account Management at Logi Analytics, where he is responsible for customer success, market development, sales enablement and thought leadership. Prior to joining Logi, Mark was a Lead Strategy Associate at the management consulting firm Booz & Company, where he helped create the firm’s first Big Data service offering. Mark earned a dual degree in Industrial Engineering and Economics from Northwestern University and holds an MBA from Harvard Business School.