Is BI about content or container ?

What is business intelligence in everyday life? Is the BI team create content, or create the container that distributes content?

Certain teams develop performance reports using data from specific business applications. They receive requests from every department of the company. They play a role of data centralization. The interpretation is left to power-users and reports are limited to exactly what is required. These teams develop a container. They give views on information in the application.

Some teams are mandated to develop analysis and to provide discoveries. They centralize data from multiple sources with a common goal. Business analysts and power-users may be part of the team. These teams create new content. This is especially true if they make predictive analytics.

Have you noticed that I used the word “report” for the teams that develop the container and “analysis” for those who develop content? It can give a good hint about the kind of team you are.

However, this observation is insufficient to answer the question. We must look at the team operating model rather than the result it produces. Whether the team develops reports or analysis, it must pass through a development process: analysis, documentation, development, test / quality assurance and deployment. A project management model has to be adopted to avoid total chaos. The development itself is not limited to create a simple SQL query to display the result. There is a lot of architecture activities (the schema, the etl process, etc..). These activities are the same as a traditional software development team.

With that in mind, is BI is about content or container ? Sometime, BI teams have to create big containers to produce tiny, but so valuable content.

I still don’t know the answer…