What you won’t learn from Business Intelligence books

  • Richard Thelwell
  • December 9, 2014

Business intelligence books Especially for smaller manufacturers, distributors, and retailers, choosing the right Business Intelligence solution can be a challenge. The problem? Compared to transaction-processing systems such as ERP, the concepts involved are more complicated, calling for some in-depth knowledge. So it’s only natural to turn to business intelligence books.

Natural, maybe. But often mistaken. Why? Because the business intelligence books on bookshelves today are almost always describing yesterday’s business intelligence systems—and not today’s or tomorrow’s.

Does that matter? Very much so. Because while a five year old book on ERP will still contain much of value, five year old business intelligence books are pretty much describing ancient history.

The result? If you rely on business intelligence books for a quick primer on today’s Business Intelligence best practice, you’re likely to go seriously awry.

So what’s missing from business intelligence books?

Good question. And one with both a long answer, and a short one.

The short answer is this: what’s missing from business intelligence books is pretty much everything that’s probably attracting you to Business Intelligence in the first place.

business intelligence books missing
Business Intelligence books may be missing key information you need to know

Such as? Well, that’s the long answer. Try these, for starters.

Self-serve reporting. Dashboards. Easy mobile access. Easy report writing tools. Painless scalability. ‘Pay as you go’ subscription plans. Business Intelligence without a hefty hardware footprint. And so on, and so on.

In short, if you’re looking for fast-but-powerful insights into sales, inventory management, and financial performance, without needing a pool of skilled analysts on standby, then you’re not likely to learn a huge amount that’s of interest in the business intelligence books on the shelves today.

So why isn’t what I’m looking for contained in business intelligence books?

Again, there’s a short answer, and a long one.

The short answer is that right now, Business Intelligence is a fast-moving field. The era of so-called ‘on-premise’ Business Intelligence solutions, requiring in-house servers and data warehouses, and needing skilled analysts to write reports and queries, is fading fast.

And the world of business intelligence books hasn’t quite caught up with this.

The longer answer? It’s this: for many smaller manufacturers, distributors and retailers, what is contained within business intelligence books is increasingly lacking in relevance.

In short, they’re not interested in stitching together a Business Intelligence solution built up from a complex mesh of hardware and software purchased upfront, and acquired from different vendors.

Not if it’s possible to get the same Business Intelligence insights from a single supplier, bought and paid for on a monthly subscription plan.

So what’s the alternative to business intelligence books?

At Matillion, we’d advise anyone thinking about Business Intelligence to keep their options open.

Especially those smaller manufacturers, distributors, and retailers lacking an extensive IT function to provide advice.

By all means consult business intelligence books—but save yourself a chore, and talk to Cloud Business Intelligence vendors first. Not only will you avoid potentially locking your business into yesterday’s Business Intelligence technology paradigm, but you’ll also save time and money.

business intelligence books consultant
Talking to a Cloud Business Intelligence consultant could teach you more about your requirements and the solutions available than business intelligence books.

In respect of time, for instance, a typical implementation of Matillion BI takes from four to eight weeks, from signed order to users being trained.

And in respect of money, the only upfront expenditure with Matillion BI is a one-off fixed price setup fee. Thereafter, you get a full enterprise class Cloud Business Intelligence solution, delivered on a monthly subscription basis, with no further hardware or software required.

But if that doesn’t appeal, then by all means start digging through the business intelligence books.

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