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Be wary of technology such as HANA on hyperdrive

by Scott Wallask

September 14, 2012

By Scott Wallask,

Donald MacCormick of Antivia said one of the best BI query tools he’s seen was on the old Star Trek: The Next Generation TV show. Officers would tap their chest emblem, ask the Enterprise’s computer a question, and get the right answer. No hype; the system was simply effective, albeit fictitious.

But here in star date 2012, things don’t work quite so well, and there’s a level of hype that masks what’s going on with BI. The cheerleading about SAP HANA is a good example of a type of hype in which people believe there is magic going on behind the scenes to explain why something works, said MacCormick, who spoke at the ASUG SAP BusinessObjects User Conference.

All of us – you, me, the company selling the software, the analyst blogging about a trend – share responsibility when BI hype boils over, said MacCormick, chief product and marketing officer at Antivia.

“It’s very easy to blame the vendors because they have the source of marketing hype,” he said. “But all too often, people are ready to consume the hype.”

From his perspec tive, HANA is easy to understand. “HAHA is a very, very fast database. It is revolutionary,” he said. “But it’s not magic. It’s not BW.”

MacCormick’s words fall clearly on the side of HANA not replacing BW, which is a debate full of thorns right now. Regardless of where you stand, MacCormick says its best to look past BI hype for the more mundane truths about a technology.

“Mundane BI can make difference,” he said. Remembering that point may help you separate fact and hysteria.

Follow Scott on Twitter @BI_ScottWIS

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