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Agile BI Needs Agile Education

Jim Roan, an American businessman, writer and motivational speaker once said:

“If someone is going down the wrong road, he doesn’t need motivation to speed him up. What he needs is education to turn him around.”

With more organizations adopting agile methodologies to develop all their applications, including their BI applications, greater emphasis has been placed on fast design, development and deployment.  Well that’s great in theory, but in practice your BI developers often lack the in-depth education on the tools they are using to design and develop effective and sustainable solutions. The result is often a compromise in the functionality and performance of the application and a maintenance nightmare.

I recently came across such a BI application developed by an offshore company. They were using Web Intelligence, but because they did not know how to use all the functionality or how to use a universe, they ended up writing tons of unnecessary SQL that caused many problems and more than doubled the development time.

Yes, I know that standard BusinessObjects education courses are often inadequate and expensive and are not necessarily the solution.

Agile BI development requires agile BI education offerings.  BI solutions companies, like InfoSol, are looking to change their education solutions to match those agile BI needs. The new agile education offering is a combination of immersion style hands-on boot camps that takes a more holistic view of the BI tool being taught. Rather than teach it in isolation and only deal with its features and functions, it is taught by using it in context and with emphasis on real world tips and tricks, along with best practices.

Individuals and organizations also need lots of flexibility around both the delivery method and timing of the training. It is very difficult and expensive to send people to training for three to five days at a time. Even if the course is being delivered as a virtual course, it can still consume critical time away from urgent project or support activities.  At the same time self-service on-line training is not for everyone and many find this a challenging or near-impossible way to learn effectively. For most people, the best way to learn is to do and to have someone to both guide them and answer their questions real-time.

While perhaps there is no perfect solution that fits everyone’s needs, we can follow the agile development approach and have more agile training options. Again, InfoSol and some other BI solution companies are willing to break courses up into smaller units so that training can be delivered, say, a couple of hours each day or during non-prime hours in order to minimize impact to the business as well as provide the student with a less intensive  learning schedule . Community Colleges and other higher education academic institutions have been doing this for a while allowing working people to take courses without impacting their regular jobs.

Agile BI education is still evolving but more and more organizations are realizing that they cannot just eliminate  training from the BI project budget as they have done in the past and still expect to deliver a successful BI solution.

You can take a look at all of InfoSol’s education offerings on the education section of our events website.

About Paul

Paul Grill started his career in Information Technology in the U.K. in 1978, as an Executive Data Processing Trainee for Honeywell. More than thirty years later, he still has a voracious appetite for learning as Information Technology continues to advance at an ever accelerating pace. He was first introduced to the world of Business Intelligence in 1991, in France, when he saw a demonstration of an early version of BusinessObjects on Windows 2.1. He returned to the U.S. to rave about this phenomenal product, but it was many years before BusinessObjects made it into the mainstream. Paul founded InfoSol in 1997, and made Business Intelligence one of the key solutions offered by the company. Today, InfoSol is a leading SAP BusinessObjects solutions partner, known for its expert consulting, education and innovative add-on solutions. Paul is well known within the SAP BusinessObjects community for his extensive knowledge of Business Intelligence, and he has lectured and written many articles on the subject. Paul enjoys writing, running and coaching kids soccer, and is passionate about Ancient Egyptology.

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