A StackOverflow for Business Intelligence – or what BI Can Learn from PHP!

A gamified, high-speed, high-quality Q&A-site for topics revolving around making professionally sense of a company’s data  – a.k.a. “Business Intelligence” – wouldn’t that be awesome? And let’s face it – asking a question on how to configure a step in Pentaho Kettle does not fit any StackExchange site’s realm yet. Usually this type of question is asked on StackOverflow but the feedback-latency is quite high to say the least. Or let’s take a question on how to design a KPI – this one usually ends up on CrossValidated but will often be greeted with disdain given the statistical triviality – plus most people in statistics are not working with BI and won’t be open for the subject’s specific intricacies. And finally you are wondering about how to configure a MySQL RDMS for a data warehouse – where to ask that? On dba.SE … I guess. And suddenly you get weird issues with TomCat which you need for Pentaho BI Server – hmmm, SuperUser? Or ServerFault?

It’s just too distributed!

The StackExchange Universe

I know that StackOverflow and its likes polarize the community as some people perceive it as very strict. I know very well what it feels like when your urgent question gets closed as being off-topic or ambiguous – but at the same time I also am convinced that up until now there simply is no – absolutely no – alternative Q&A concept getting even close to the efficiency of the StackExchange sites, fostering a community that is driven by quality!

BI is still too Focused on Big Enterprises

In my personal opinion BI and its technologies and tools is way too strongly bound to specific companies like Pentaho, SAP, QlikTech etc. They all have their specific forums and their guys offering some support. But all of those company have the primary concearn to sell their Enterprise Editions and support contracts. That is perfectly alright – but this inevitably handicaps the information flow and the learning process. BI is no longer only for big companies which are able to pay 40’000 Dollar upfront to get the support they need for a professional BI infrastructure. Every company needs some sort of BI!

PAAR – PHP As A Role model

Just ask yourself – where would the World Wide Web be now if the same principles had ruled PHP? How many web service would be out there by now if you would have to invest a five digit amount of money just to get started with some PHP framework? I’m not saying the PHP way is the way to go for BI – but it could take some inspiration from that area – more democracy, more transparency and more openness to a low-budget approach!


Let’s bring BI to StackExchange!


3 thoughts on “A StackOverflow for Business Intelligence – or what BI Can Learn from PHP!

  1. You forgot datascience.stackexchange.com

    I’m convinced that BI will fail badly, if it gets beyond the proposal. There already were at least two AI proposals, and one failed in beta, the other before…

    Actually we need fewer sites, not more. Otherwise, people just cross-post, which annoys those that are active in more than one.

    • Didn’t forget it – just posted there. “Fail badly” sounds so melodramatic – so let it fail – nobody will die.
      But note that AI as well as data science are not the same as BI – there is an intersection but a rather small one. AI is about having programs make “intelligent” decisions and “data science” is about investigating available data. BI on the other hand deals with organizing the data flow from the sources to some data warehouse and dissemination of reportings to managers.

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