June 2009

Sponsored by Lyzasoft Inc.

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Business analysts are, by tradition, hunter-gatherers. Independently or in small, close-knit groups, they stalk the wild data resources of the business, seeking out new and unusual facts, and building from them deep insights into the meaning of business life and events. Armed with little more than their spreadsheets, they single-handedly recalculate cells and pivot tables in search of that “ah-ha” moment when innovation emerges from its lair.

Meanwhile, IT labors hard, and often at great cost, to provide a quality-assured, comprehensive and integrated warehouse of information as the basis for corporate reporting and planning. This valuable data resource often lies ignored or distrusted by pioneering business analysts. Today’s business cannot afford the luxury of this disconnect.

This paper examines the sources of this unfortunate division and introduces the adaptive information cycle, a model that links the center-out approach of traditional data warehousing to the edge-based, emergent prototyping that characterizes today’s analytic environment. By combining concepts from integrated development environments, social networking and collaborative working, the adaptive information cycle reunites Business Intelligence and Business Analytics.

Beyond the conceptual level, LyzaTM Commons shows the real functionality needed to allow business analysts to collaborate more closely and to enable IT to harvest the fruits of their innovation for the wider user community.