At the Microsoft Business Intelligence (BI) Conference this week the rallying cry around BI has been "enabling the people-ready business." Keynoters and speakers have stressed that the future of BI is about empowering information workers (IWs) and other business users. As Microsoft BI Marketing director, Guy Weismantel, resplendent Tuesday morning in a buttoned up sweater and a tie, looking uncannily like Mr. Rogers, said, "The goal is to make it everyone's business to grow the business."
Or, as Mr. Rogers never would say, "It's a beautiful day for an information worker."
I was concerned if DBAs and IT Pros would still be special in the future. I spoke with Noel Yuhanna, a Forrester analyst, and he told me that the trend is definitely toward giving business users the tools, the business technology (BT), they need to make decisions quickly in order to stay competitive. He explained the trend in IT terms as moving from MIS to IT to BT. Microsoft is aligning with the BT expectancy by extending familiar Office tools so that end users can make decisions."
I asked Yuhanna about what happens to an IT organization when much of the IT role moves out into the business? Where are the IT jobs when the self-service model punches up ROI and drives down TCO? Yuhanna noted that IT would always need to be strategic in order to architect the data and would always be involved in decision-making where very complex reports would need to be produced. He sees the focus of IT in the future as deepening their role of improving the quality of the data, improving the security of the data, and improving the availability of the data. He ties IT growth to the growth in the number of apps and the number of databases in an organization--and he anticipates that databases will proliferate over the coming years. "IT doesn't have the bandwidth to directly support thousands of users" in standard tool use.
I wondered what sort of re-education for IT Pros/DBAs would be needed in this new world. Yuhanna didn't think technical folks need to be re-educated; rather they need to develop a deeper understanding of the business requirements underlying standard IT activities such as disaster recovery, ensuring business continuity, and otherwise safeguarding and protecting data.
As Mr. Rogers would say, "Let's make the most of this wonderful day."