BITunes on the Cloud? – The Emergence Of Subscription Based On-Demand BI

As I research more and more into the world of Cloud-based BI, it is becoming pretty evident where we are headed. In my opinion we are moving down the road to an iTunes model for BI.   Yesterday I spent some time with Actuate in London looking at their BIRT On-Demand platform as a service (PaaS) solution (which is very easy to use). It was only a matter of minutes before I was up and running with a Mashboard.  A few weeks back in New Orleans I used Dundas Dashboard to quickly build a dashboard from pre-built components. Similarly Microsoft SQL Server 2010 has the ability in ReportBuilder 3.0  to quickly build up a library of components that can be dragged and dropped into a report. The  more I use these products to understand their capabilities the more I see a similarity to what is happening in the information management world.  Looking at cloud-based data integration solutions like Boomi, Informatica and SnapLogic for example, you can see that what these vendors are trying to do is to create a development platform for Information as a Service. In other words you build data integration jobs and then make the results available on subscription such that companies can subscribe to information which is supplied to them by cloud based data integration workflows running on the net.   So now apply this idea to the BI produced on cloud-based PaaS solutions.  Once your reports and dashboards are built then the next thing people are going to want to do is to publish these artifacts as on-demand BI services assuming the intelligence is of business value to others.

If you combine On-demand BI running on top of on-demand information you can quickly see where we are going.  In my opinion it is only a matter of time before we see lots of intermediate companies (maybe even PaaS BI and SaaS BI vendors) making BI available on-demand in something similar to an iTunes  store.  The point here is that the level of abstraction rises again such that it is the BI that is of business value while the PaaS BI or SaaS BI solution is almost forgotten about.  Think of it like this. Imagine selling intelligence on-demand for the World Cup. At $5 a subscription the fact that this is built on a specific BI PaaS or SaaS BI solution is almost irrelevant. The consumer doesn’t care, they just want the intelligence.  It is the insight that is of value. The trick is to make it really easy to share intelligence of value in the form or reports and dashboards or dashboard components once they are built so that others can consume them quickly and easily on a subscription basis.

So bring on the “BITunes” store where insight is available on-demand on a subscription basis.  You can apply this to BI services built on external data available on the public cloud as well as to BI services available inside the enterprise on a private cloud. Users can simply subscribe to intelligence available on-demand.  This is an iTunes model and what a model it is. The size of this market could be very very significant. I don’t think we are far off.


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