What is a Business Intelligence (BI) Hybrid Solution? You might have seen this term thrown around quite a lot in the BI industry lately, and besides knowing a general definition of the word ‘hybrid’ it can be quite hard to know what is meant by it.
Let us dispel some of the mystery for you and give you the lowdown on why it’s so popular.
Hybrid Business Intelligence – What Does it Actually Mean?
A hybrid BI solution will, in best practice, take the best bits from both a centralised and a distributed approach to BI. Each one of these methods has their own pros and cons so a hybrid of the two could be the answer many organisations are looking for.
And just so we’re all singing off the same hymn sheet let’s be clear about what a centralised and distributed model of BI looks like:
- A centralised BI solution sees all the technology and power of reporting held in one position in a company. Usually either an IT team or senior management.
- A distributed approach to BI focuses more on self-service and giving each department access to data and the ability to create their own reports.
A distributed approach to BI focuses more on self-service and giving each department access to data and the ability to create their own reports.
Centralised v Distributed
Centralised BI solutions are fantastic for maintaining a high level of control over data and how it is used throughout an organisation. Many organisations struggle with BI implementations as each department uses different data to run different reports and so may end up conflicting with each other – a centralised view is the perfect way of avoiding this. Having one clear picture, that everyone is working to.
The drawback of this approach is that if all the power is held in one place every request for a report or dashboard has to go through that department or team. For large organisations this bottleneck can be crippling, never mind time consuming!
A distributed approach to BI, as we’ve discussed, focuses more on self-service. This is a great way to get data in the hands of the people who need it, as soon as possible, so they can make data-driven decisions.
The drawback, and this may ring true, is that too much self-service can lead to ‘data chaos’. If you give access to too many departments or teams you risk creating conflicting reports - confusing the picture, rather than aiding decision-making.
The Best of Both Worlds
The ideal then, is to combine these two approaches. And, in fact, to get any significant benefit from a BI implementation a hybrid approach will be essential. A hybrid solution provides front-line users with the quick access of the distributed approach, whilst alleviating the pressure on IT departments, and ensuring one clear, consistent picture of data is used.
The perfect balance of centralised and distributed BI approaches, will be different for each organisation. This will depend on many variables including, but not limited to, company size, number of departments, management structure, and the reason behind BI implementations in the first place.
A Hybrid Conclusion
The benefits of hitting this sweet spot are fairly self-evident. But that does not mean they are easily achieved. Although, with the increasing availability, and accessibility, of Cloud and Mobile BI tools the hybrid model of BI solutions is far easier to implement.
A well-thought out, Hybrid BI solution will succeed in providing a balance between agile decision making, and an appropriate level of control over your data. A hybrid approach will deliver the right data, to the right departments at the right time, whilst still maintaining a central picture that will assist the entire organisation.
If you’d like to talk to someone about getting the balance of your Hybrid BI Solutions right, get in touch with us and call us on 0800 652 4050.