BI for a Generation X & Y World: Hard Links, Mobile Computing, and Social Media



Today, Microsoft SQL Server 2008 R2 reached the RTM milestone and with it the arrival of PowerPivot. PowerPivot will undoubtedly help Microsoft in their "BI for the Masses" mission. A great video by Microsoft's Tom Casey can be found at  http://www.youtube.com/sqlserver. I hope you find my recent article here at SQL Server Magazine helpful as well, How to Create PowerPivot Applications in Excel 2010 .

In parallel with the release of Microsoft SQL Server 2008 R2 another event is occurring and this event is even more important...the growing consumer base of Generation X and Y. So what's the big deal? Every business has some things in common, one of which is the presence of customers. Regardless of whether you’re in a B2B or a B2C business you not only have customers but the generations they are composed of are changing (particularly right now). When a new generation of customers begins to take priority business must adapt (primarily in the marketing, sales, and customer service departments).

So stop and look at what's going on around you in the world. Baby boomers are getting older while generation X and Y (including this post's author) is 'settling in'. For those of us who grew up in the Nintendo era (or later), we are very different creatures. Modern-day companies are already changing how they do business because of this fact. Back to SQL Server for a moment (isn't that suppose to be my blog's topic ouch), Microsoft is conducting massive social media campaigns to promote the release of SQL Server 2008 R2 with Twitter, Facebook, and YouTube. And as you know it's not just the big technology companies who are adapting to social media.

As generation x/y consumers we want to do business with companies we trust, as if the vendor is a friend. Which is partially why the green movement has been so big, we want to buy from 'good guys'. ( cigarette companies your days are numbered in my opinion). A third dimension to 'us' is we value people being candid, we want the truth, not sales hype. Beyond the concepts of us being highly social consumers and using vendors we like is that of hard links. Before I say another word go to the link below and watch the YouTube video and then come back:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=n1ANVCDHYA4&feature=youtube_gdata  

What did you think? I first saw QR Codes back in 2007, although they’ve been around officially since 1994 believe it or not. As an early gen y alpha geek I really do think hard links (aka mobile tagging) is coming world-wide. Why? Because it's yet another example of what WE like…information when we want it in the format we want it in (sounds similar to BI eh?). *Note: Microsoft Tag came out long after QR Codes were in existence

How does this information relate to the future of BI? Is it not clear already? For the first time in history companies will be able to gain true transparency into their physical
marketing campaigns (direct mail etc.). They also learn more about their customers which is a core goal of BI. With Social Media, we also learn more about our customers (and their attributes) by combining traditional corporate data with Social Media data.

As technologist we realize and accept that technology will keep evolving at accelerated rates. However, sometimes we don’t stop and look around enough (cough, that would be me) to see why things are happening and then what is to come from those trends. Not only does the future of BI include new tools such as PowerPivot but also new sets of data to work with.

Have a comment, thought, or opinion? Drop me a note here on my blog and I’ll do my best to respond in a timely fashion.

Derek
YOB: 1978

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Mark Kromer

Mark Kromer has been a technical product manager & solution architect in business intelligence, data warheouse and Big Data world for over 20 years for Microsoft, Oracle and AT&T, currently...

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Jen Underwood, Founder and Principal Consultant at Impact Analytix, has almost 20 years of experience in data warehousing, business intelligence, and predictive analytics. She is a former Global...
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