Executive Q & A with Daryl Orts, EVP, Products & Services

What are the top three business intelligence (BI) industry developments of 2012?

The biggest trends in the BI industry are the increased importance of:

  • Cloud Computing – (and related technologies) – Businesses are increasingly moving away from “on premise” technologies toward other offerings, including SaaS (software as a service), PaaS (platform as a service), and IaaS (infrastructure as a service).  While there are arguments about what the term “cloud” means (and various levels of purity in that definition), there’s no disagreement that the transition to these services is on the rise.  Those changes are showing up in the offerings from all major BI vendors.
  • Mobile BI – Two major drivers – smart phones (especially iPhone and Android) and tablets (primarily iPads) – are moving businesses toward mobile.  With BI, business users are no longer content with delayed information and want increasing interactivity (and analysis capabilities) with the data they access through their mobile devices.
  • Big Data – Like “cloud computing”, Big Data is a term that elicits some debate about what it actually means.  Generally accepted definitions focus on massively large datasets, usually with both structured data (like databases and spreadsheets) and unstructured data (like Word documents, PDF files, and text streams).  Big Data creates new challenges in acquiring that data, organizing and storing it, as well as analyzing it; pushing traditional database, storage, and analytic technologies beyond their limits.

What’s next for the Noetix Generator technology?

As we’ve developed the Noetix Generator product family, there have been three major categories of change, each of which will continue throughout 2013.

1.  Support for new BI platforms – this year we added Microsoft BI.  We’ve announced our plans for (and are currently working on) QlikView.  We frequently have customers ask about Tableau, Tibco Spotfire, MicroStrategy, and others.  So we’re probably not finished.

2.  Support for new features in NoetixViews and Noetix Analytics.  Recently we’ve added support for parent-child hierarchies from NoetixViews and calculated columns from Noetix Analytics, and we can expect more additions in future releases.

3.  Support for new features in the BI platforms we support.  There’s some especially interesting new stuff in Oracle BI (you have to love Oracle’s numbering scheme!) and in Microsoft SQL Server 2012 that we’ll want to enable.

Beyond those changes, we have some interesting opportunities pursuing the key BI trends I mentioned above.  We’re looking at changes that will allow us to deploy our Noetix Generator technology in the cloud, running generations “as a service.”  As we continue to take advantage of new features in the BI platforms, we’ll be looking to maximize their mobile BI capabilities.  Finally (and probably most significantly for the long-term), we’d like to broaden the data sources that we can use, so that Noetix Generator can work with any data source (including massive “big data” data stores), not just NoetixViews and Noetix Analytics.

You are a theater guy – What is the best show you’ve seen this year?

For the first time in years, I haven’t made a trip to New York City, so I don’t have any Broadway shows to talk about.  As a result, I missed out on (but really would love to see) Once, the 2012 Tony award winner for Best Musical (based on a 2006 Indie-movie starring Glen Hansard).  I did manage a trip to the West End in London with my wife last December, where we saw an intriguing revival of Pippin and the campy Priscilla, Queen of the Desert, which was a lot of fun.  While I was in business meetings (sadly for me), my wife also got to see Million Dollar Quartet, which was exceptional.

Locally, the best production that I saw was Big River at Village Theatre in Issaquah last month.  Big River tells the story of Huck Finn, featuring a country and blues score by Roger Miller.  The show featured breathtaking scenic design and outstanding performers, especially Rodney Hicks as Jim and Randy Scholz as an endearing Huck Finn.  On a smaller scale, I also really enjoyed Bloody Bloody Andrew Jackson, at ArtsWest in West Seattle.  This was a completely different experience – an emo-rock musical mixing historical fact and fiction telling the controversial story of America’s seventh president.  One of Seattle’s rising young theatre stars, Kody Bringman, was outstanding in the title role.  Both Village Theatre and ArtsWest consistently do outstanding work – I encourage everyone in the Seattle area to check out future productions at those theatres.

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