Francois Ajenstat, Director of product management at Tableau and a veteran of 15 years in the BI space at Cognos and Microsoft, advocates a different approach. IT pros should take advantage of the faster database software, faster processors, cheaper memory and other enablers and acknowledge that the choice is not either/or when it comes to real time vs. batch.
"Organizations have a need for batch and for real time – they have a need for all of these capabilities,” Ajenstat said. “The challenge becomes how to ensure that users get what they want when they want it."
I'm going to go even further. Here are three guiding principles for IT professionals to embrace that will ensure their customers' satisfaction and prolong their careers:
• Assume new implementations will be real time.
• Immediately chart a course to add real-time capabilities to your top tier user and customer-facing applications within the next 12 months.
• Review the existing IT architecture and standards and pull back from the rigid controls on the number of "approved" databases, BI and analytics tools.
I know you think I'm advocating letting the inmates run the prison and that I'm just promoting what the vendors would like to see happen. The reality is that your end users are adopting cloud-based analytics and other low cost/low threshold-of-entry tools without your knowledge, let alone approval. The recent announcement from Amazon that its Web services unit now includes analytics (the Redshift service) is just the tip of the iceberg of what is out there or will be soon.
Tableau's Ajenstat describes a scenario that, while benefiting his company and other vendors, reflects the pragmatism that IT professionals should adopt given the proliferation of needs and alternative solutions: "Empower the business side with whatever they need. IT should say, 'we will focus on infrastructure, not the entire end to end system. You can use whatever tools on top of the data.’ IT used to try to put everything in the data warehouse, but that is too confining and slow given the current environment. Now IT should adopt a multi-tool strategy."
Your users already have, you just don't know it.