Reviewing BI Suites
It looks like the normally-reliable Business Intelligence Pipeline site has bitten off more than it can chew with its recent attempt to review the leading BI platforms. Not only have readers got upset about certain products being missing from the review – the result of a ‘no-review’ policy on the part of the vendors – but a quick look at the review of Analysis Services/Reporting Services reveals a number of very basic mistakes/misunderstandings. For example: "Chart generation, prevalent among other participants in our evaluation, was not an option with Reporting Services". Eh? Is this meant to mean you can’t have charts in RS reports? Of course you can. And even more worryingly: "Microsoft SQL Analysis Services is an extension to SQL Server 2000, with client access provided through its Enterprise Manager"; several other comments made me think that the literal interpretation of this sentence is in fact what the reviewer meant. Enterprise Manager as a client tool? What does this mean for the quality of the other reviews? Why, while we’re at it, did they review AS+RS and not AS plus Proclarity/Panorama, which is surely a more sensible combination?
To be fair, any attempt to try to review such a vast area such as BI platforms with all the different architectures, functionality etc on offer, is doomed to failure. Certainly all the Gartner reports on this subject – which people pay substantial amounts of money for – seem to be pretty useless and provide less information than would be revealed by spending a few hours Googling. The only worthwhile BI reviews I’ve ever seen are on the OLAP Report website, and even there Nigel Pendse focuses on OLAP engines and the odd front-end, and not BI platforms as a whole.