Not so long ago It was good enough to be able to view informative reports and insightful dashboards. Then data discovery became the rage for business users to buy BI without recourse to IT. Often a standalone BI tab or application they were limited by the lack of context- business users had to go back into an enterprise app to actually do something. Then came BI apps with write-back that could initiate action; even be embedded in the work flows themselves. Now business users can make better decisions and execute them better. But only if your BI has write-back. Has it?
Why is it that many people assume BI is poor at write-back? The answer is simple: They can’t, and the reason is found in the architecture of a traditional BI stack. ETL tools copy data from transactional systems into a data warehouse, a semantic layer defines the metrics and measures that people want to look at, and a presentation layer is put on top. What happens when an end-user viewing a dashboard-report wants to take action – say send an invoice, flag an account to send to collections? In a traditional BI model, they must go into their original source systems, the transactional apps, make the changes, and wait for those to flow back through the cycle. The action is disconnected, the timing doesn’t match, and the context the user is in when they are viewing the information is lost.