Technics Publications

Business unIntelligence

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Business unIntelligence: Insight and Innovation beyond Analytics and Big Data, by Dr. Barry Devlin

Business unIntelligence reflects the new reality that in today’s socially complex and rapidly changing world, business decisions must be based on a combination of rational and intuitive thinking. Integrating cues from diverse information sources and tacit knowledge, decision makers create unique meaning to innovate heuristically at the speed of thought. This book provides a wealth of new models that business and IT can use together to design support systems for tomorrow’s successful organizations.


CHAPTER 1 A modern trinity

Why now? Why Business unIntelligence?
What’s it all about, trinity?
Pandora’s Box of information
Process, process every where
There’s nowt so queer as folk
Architecting the biz-tech ecosystem

CHAPTER 2 The biz-tech ecosystem

The birth of the Beast
Beauty and the Beast—the biz-tech ecosystem
Key features of the biz-tech ecosystem
Tyranny of the Beast
In practice—all change in the organization

CHAPTER 3 Data, information and the hegemony of IT

The knowledge pyramid and the ancient serpent of wisdom
What is this thing called data?
From information to data
The modern meaning model—m3
Database daemons and delicate data models
The importance of being information
IDEAL architecture (1): Information,
Structure/Context dimension
Metadata is two four-letter words
In practice—focusing IT on information

CHAPTER 4 Fact, fiction or fabrication

Questions and answers
Where do you come from (my lovely)?
It’s my data, and I’ll play if I want to
I’m going home…and I’m taking my data with me
Information from beyond the Pale
Tales of sails and sales
A new model for information trust
IDEAL architecture (2): Information,
Reliance/Usage dimension
In practice—(re)building trust in data

CHAPTER 5 Data-based decision making

Turning the tables on business
The data warehouse at the end of the universe
Business intelligence—really?
Today’s conundrum—consistency or timeliness
Most of our assumptions have outlived their uselessness
IDEAL architecture (3): Information,
Timeliness/Consistency dimension
Beyond the data warehouse
REAL architecture (1): Core business information
In practice—upgrading your data warehouse

CHAPTER 6 Death and rebirth in the information explosion

Data deluge, information tsunami
What is big data and why bother?
Internal reality mirrors the external
A primer on big data technology
Information—the tri-domain logical model
REAL architecture (2): Pillars replace layers
In practice—bringing big data on board

CHAPTER 7 How applications became apps and other process peculiarities

Hunter-gatherers, farmers and industrialists
From make and sell to sense and respond
Process is at the heart of decision making
Stability or agility (also known as SOA)
Keeping up with the fashionistas
IDEAL architecture (4), Process
REAL architecture (3), The six process-ations
In practice—implementing process flexibility

CHAPTER 8 Insightful decision making

BI (the first time)
Information—some recent history
Copyright or copywrong
I spy with my little eye something beginning…
The care and grooming of content
A marriage of convenience
Knowledge management is the answer; now, what was the question?
Models, ontologies and the Semantic Web
In practice—finally moving beyond data

CHAPTER 9 Innovation in the human and social realm

Meaning—and the stories we tell ourselves
Rational decision making, allegedly
Insight—engaging the evolved mind
Working 9 to 5…at the MIS mill
Enter prize two dot zero
People who need people…
IDEAL architecture (5): People
In practice—introducing collaborative decision making

CHAPTER 10 Business unIntelligence—whither now?

IDEAL architecture (6): Summary
REAL architecture (4): Implementation
Past tense, future perfect

Business intelligence (BI) used to be so simple—in theory anyway. Integrate and copy data from your transactional systems into a specialized relational database, apply BI reporting and query tools and add business users. Job done.

No longer. Analytics, big data and an array of diverse technologies have changed everything. More importantly, business is insisting on ever more value, ever faster from information and from IT in general. An emerging biz-tech ecosystem demands that business and IT work together.

Dr. Barry Devlin, one of the earliest proponents of data warehousing, goes back to basics to explore how the modern trinity of information, process and people must be reinvented and restructured to deliver the value, insight and innovation required by modern businesses. From here, he develops a series of novel architectural models that provide a new foundation for holistic information use across the entire business. From discovery to analysis and from decision making to action taking, he defines a fully integrated, closed-loop business environment. Covering every aspect of business analytics, big data, collaborative working and more, this book takes over where BI ends to deliver the definitive framework for information use in the coming years.

As the person who defined the conceptual framework and physical architecture for data warehousing in the 1980s, Barry Devlin has been an astute observer of the movement he initiated ever since. Now, in Business unIntelligence, Devlin provides a sweeping view of the past, present, and future of business intelligence, while delivering new conceptual and physical models for how to turn information into insights and action. Reading Devlin’s prose and vision of BI are comparable to reading Carl Sagan’s view of the cosmos. The book is truly illuminating and inspiring.
Wayne Eckerson, President, BI Leader Consulting
Author, “Secrets of Analytical Leaders: Insights from Information Insiders”

Data Doodle blog post on the book | Rediscovering BI book excerpt and author interview

About Barry

Dr. Barry Devlin is among the foremost authorities on business insight and big data, and one of the founders of data warehousing, having published the first architectural paper on the topic in 1988. With over 30 years of IT experience, including 20 years with IBM as a Distinguished Engineer, he is a widely respected analyst, consultant, and lecturer. He is author of the seminal book, “Data Warehouse-from Architecture to Implementation” and numerous White Papers. Barry is founder and principal of 9sight Consulting. He specializes in the human, organizational and IT implications of deep business insight solutions that combine operational, informational and collaborative environments. A regular tweeter, blogger and contributor to multiple publications, Barry is based in Cape Town, South Africa and operates worldwide.


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