A Closer Look at Business Intelligence


OLAP Cube What a brief review of any BI vendor’s marketing materials will tell you is limited, that is unless you’re used to technical jargon about mobile apps and reading between the lines of system requirements. Since choosing the right BI vendor can have a profound impact on your company’s success, here are a some commonly used terms we feel deserve further explanation from our CIO and Chief Data Architect:

Data Discovery & Ad-Hoc
Data discovery describes a tool enabled to handle metadata in the way an ad-hoc tool would handle values, or elements. A data discovery tool empowers a “Non-IT” user to manipulate data freely. With reference to the Shipping Cost Graph below, an ad-hoc tool would allow the user to input

Angora Store, or Baker City Store, into a graph so one-by-one the user could look into the store’s shipping cost. A data discovery tool on the other hand would allow the user to include the whole dimension Store into one graph.In a nutshell, ad-hoc report provides the user predefined slicer and dicer (i.e. filters), whereas data discovery permits the user to include himself any slicer and dicer.

Pure Native App
Think of any mobile device. Now remove its browsers (Explorer, Safari, Firefox…). Does your app still work? If the answer’s no, then it’s not a pure native app; it’s most likely web-based. Some other ways to pinpoint a web-based app is if:

  • The user needs a browser to run the app
  • Or, app builders claim the app is HTML5

Apps that use browsers are sometimes called native because they are optimized to respond to gestures, but they do not use the inherent features of the device operating system such as gestures, or security capabilities. Non-native app are generally slower and more “windows-like” apps and are not fully compatible with the device’s operating system.

Data to Device
The term Data to Device refers to how the mobile app connects directly to data. A data to device architecture is an optimized solution that allows the device to access information directly from the source database (Explained in the visual below). For example, with a source like Microsoft Appliance PDW, we claim to have a data to device solution; meaning the app can be directly connected to the PDW database. But, if our app needed to replicate the data into an internal platform we couldn’t claim the benefits of real-time data and speed.

What BI term, do you think deserve a better explanation?


Data Modeling guru and an extraordinary mathematician! Jean Michel's passion for complex algorithms is rivaled only by his ability to see patterns in data and the length of his name. His data modeling prowess is legendary and highly sought after even amongst top technology vendors. Prior to joining iVEDiX, he was Eastman Kodak's Chief Data Architect. He was instrumental in designing numerous award-winning models and solutions for a multitude of teams throughout Kodak.

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