Bounded Rationality, BI and Beyond

Posted by Karthikeyan Sankaran
Comments (3)
November 16th, 2009

Herbert Alexander Simon, an American political scientist, economist, psychologist and professor, coined the term “Bounded Rationality”. Bounded Rationality is a concept which relates to the fact that the decision making capability of individuals is limited by the information that they have and the finite amount of time they have to make decisions. This carries a lot of relevance to Business Intelligence managers / decision makers, who have to grapple with a plethora of choices both known & unknown, before zeroing in on the optimal choice of BI solutions for their respective organizations.

To illustrate the fact that the world of BI is moving & innovating at a rapid pace, let us play a small “Do you know this?” game in this blog. Given below are some of the new ideas / developments that I have evaluated in the BI space recently and quite a few of them can be viewed as game-changers in this domain.

As a BI practitioner, “Do You Know” that:

1.Large / Medium sized organizations can completely manage its Planning & Budgeting cycle for as low an investment as $25,000

Check out Adaptive Planning which is a on-demand ‘cloud’ solution for Planning & Budgeting.

2.The ability to analyze multi-million rows of data in Excel on your laptop is not far-away

Look-out for PowerPivot 2010 (erstwhile codenamed Project ‘Gemini’) from Microsoft. Fundamentally, In-Memory Analytics, Column-based storage etc. are having a profound impact on large-volume data analysis.

3.Technology to integrate data sources virtually without the need to have hard-wired ETL is available

Enterprise Information Integration (EII) software like Composite and its variations like Cognos Virtual View Manager are taking its rightful place in the realm of information delivery.

4.Creation of awesome visualization like in Gapminder is possible without writing a single piece of code

Take a look at Google gadgets, Mashup API’s at Programmableweb and this is sure to add a lot of power to your BI visualization capabilities

5.Business Process Simulations are making its way into the BI landscape

Simulations based on System Dynamics and its manifestation in tools like Vensim, Powersim etc. are becoming end-points of the BI value chain

6.Data in Petabyte range (>1000 terabytes) will become commonplace and will be handled effortlessly by BI tools

Massively Parallel Processing architectures (Greenplum, Project Madison from Microsoft to name a few), DW Appliances (Teradata, Netezza, Oracle Exadata, QimBase etc.) are gearing up to handle these challenges

7.There are comprehensive BI platforms on the cloud

Products like LiveAccess from Birst can combine data uploaded to the cloud with data in on-demand applications like and also get into on-premise data to provide comprehensive analytical capabilities, in a matter of minutes

8.Large Data Warehouses can have their development, test, quality and production environment in ONE SINGLE BOX

Virtualization (both Hardware Partitioning & Hypervisor technology) platforms like Microsoft Hyper V, VMware, Xen, Virtuozzo can enable such platform consolidation in the near future

9.Technology exist to analyze all types of logs (call logs, IVR logs, web logs etc.) to provide profound insights

Products like ClickFox operate in the area of Customer Experience Analytics and provides extensive capabilities to model & analyze semi-structured information as present in log files

10.Along with providing business foresight thro’ Predictive Analytics, BI is also helping organizations analyze data streams in real ‘real-time’

Complex Event Processing (CEP) and its manifestation in tools like Streambase, Oracle CEP etc. are making its way into mainstream BI.

So, how much did you score? Am sure that you also would have come across some interesting developments in BI recently. Please do share your thoughts. Thanks for reading.

Let me sign-off with a quote which is think is apt for this post.

The reasonable man adapts himself to the world; the unreasonable one persists in trying to adapt the world to himself. Therefore all progress depends on the unreasonable man” – George Bernard Shaw, Man and Superman (1903) “Maxims for Revolutionists”.

Comments (3)

Peter S - November 16th, 2009

Excellent BI blog, and I would like to invite you to join our BI discussion Forum, an example of which is here: Please email me. Best, Peter

Subramaniam R - November 16th, 2009

The blistering developments in the BI space makes awesome reading. Thnks for putting it all together. Bounded Rationality may be ; but unbounded intelligence it looks like! Is Business Intelligence internal to the business or external?!

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