Last month, Pentaho sponsored a contest where people answer the question -“What does agile BI mean?” I was lucky enough to be one of the judges to determine who made it to the final five and win a Flip Ultra™ camcorder. The results were posted today http://www.pentaho.com/what_is_agile/. Now it’s up to the community to vote for their favorite answer and the winner gets an iPad - (yes, that means you).
When reading through hundreds of entries I began to see a pattern and being an old BI guy, that meant I had to make a pie chart. The answers fell into 5 main groups: BI Solution Development, Business Users, Entire Business marketing Fluff and Other.
Almost 34% of the entries cited Agile BI as an iterative methodology for developing BI solutions involving the end user as early and often as possible. It is exemplified by one of the finalists “Agile is about speeding up the design/create/ship/observe cycle. The more you ship and observe, the better you learn to design and do. Whether you're headed in the wrong direction or the right one, it's imperative that you find that out as soon as possible.” Exactly what we have started with the PDI 4.0 release and are continuing to focus on.
A full 25% of the responses focused on the business user with quotes like, “Agile is never being caught flat-footed - being able to react and adapt with ease, leaving competitors in your wake.” The ability for end users to explore and analyze business data beyond static reporting is very important. Applications like Pentaho Analyzer and Web-based Ad hoc Query and Reporting address this need. The modeling perspective added to PDI 4.0 reduces the complexity and learning curve associated with building metadata models and schemas in order to put that analytical power into the end user’s hands.
A little over 12% were not concerned whether the agility was on the development or user side. They just knew that the business had to react quickly to changing business conditions. “Agile means being able to rapidly adjust to changing conditions with speed and accuracy” was a typical response in this category.
Exactly 15% of people responded with what I call fluffy messages. These were creative and got the most attention from our marketing people (I wasn’t the only judge) “The antonym to SAP”, “Less work, more money” and "Agile (with Pentaho) means never having to say you're sorry."
The last 14% were entries like “agile is eliga read backwards” and the self-referencing “The only way to make agile decisions.” Not sure where they were going with some of these but they were also entertaining.
Out of the entries, there were nine attempts to make a phrase by using words that start with the letters A-G-I-L-E. Two people submitted papers on agile BI. We even had a submission written in Haiku. No one went for the extra creativity points by using video or interpretive dance. We didn’t get any abusive, obscene or SPAM entries, which was nice.
There were only two negative responses complaining that Agile BI was marketing hype. Here is one of them, “Two answers. 1. Personally, "Agile BI" means nothing to me. Sounds like yet another attempt by marketing to create an artificial differentiator. 2. If I had to describe "Agile BI" or die, I'd say, "An Agile BI environment enables an organization's people and processes to quickly adapt to new or changed user requirements, ideally through self-learning and pre-emptive adjustments.” Answer two is exactly what we intend to enable with this initiative and when we are successful, that will prove the number one answer wrong.
Pentaho is committed to Agile BI. We believe our development plan is in line with the majority of respondents to this contest. PDI 4.0 is a great start but it is just the first steps and we are using this feedback to help set the product roadmap for the next half of this year and beyond. Thank you for participating! Please vote for one of the finalists.
Doug Moran Pentaho Community Guy