Thursday, August 7, 2008

Can iGoogle Replace Expensive and Complex Enterprise Portals and Business Intelligence Dashboards?

In the past year I‘ve been exposed to a world that I knew very little about, the world of Google. Sure, just like everyone else around me, I knew that Google is great as a search engine and has also gotten into Apps but I never really understood the full potential in that thing known as “the Google platform”.

After a year that saw us become partners with Google and where we developed some very interested stuff with the industry giant, I came to realize there is a whole lot more to Google than one might realize.

One of the more interesting angles from my personal perspective is the iGoogle platform. I use iGoogle mostly to place, on a single screen, my Gmail, Google Calendar, weather, news and some other personal stuff and find it very useful. The big moment of clarity came when I participated in a customer meeting and they shared with me how they were thinking about creating an iGoogle-like solution to compliment SAP Portal.

This statement completely blew my mind away! How in the world could a fortune 100 company even think about making something that is so consumer focused and make it relevant to the the enterprise?

The idea was actually very simple. They were trying to deploy personal dashboards for users to be able to customize and “make their own”. The goal was to create, using custom coding, an iGoogle clone where people could bring together personal stuff with key BI data into a single page.

Because iGoogle didn’t allow the exposure of enterprise data, The customer was basically considering the idea of developing a solution that would let them host, inside their SAP Portal, Google gadgets. The expectation was for a very long and complex project.

We met with the customer to talk about how they could use, in production, our new solution for Google applications wherein they would analyze their SAP BW or SQL AS cubes right from within Google apps.

When they saw the solution they asked one question that changed everything, “Can we take the reports that you’ve built in Google apps and expose them as gadgets within iGoogle?”

Fortunately our answer was, yes!

It was at that moment that they realized that instead of building their own iGoogle, they could actually use the real iGoogle.

The images below show an example. They are of an iGoogle dashboard that shows multiple reports that bring in live data from an enterprise data warehouse combined with some personal gadgets into a single page.

So what do you think? Can Google get into the game of Dashboards and Portals?


NikoNiki - Take The Lead; Drive The Mood said...

Hi There!

Recently i heard a lot for google docs as well as gadgets. The most interesting one has come up to be Panorama Pivot Table. Eventually, tried it. It is cool!

I need to know how do i paste the chart generated by the panorama pivote table to the google speadsheet? as an image or any available format.

Thank You

Rick said...

It's very interesting, but I know that it would be next to impossible to implement as-is into our business for IP and security reasons.

What is needed is an iGoogle aggregator appliance that could be developed to, which would live in-house, and have the ability to expose google portles as well as custom dashboards.

Mr. Universe said...

This all sounds great for most industries, but what about healthcare? Can somebody figure out how to integrate high-tech BI/analytics into America's hospitals, health systems and medical groups? If you can, please give me a call so we can help save healthcare's cost/pricing/quality issues and make millions while we're doing it.

orrlyfe said...

Sound interesting. But I heard that google doesn't want the corporation to host it themselves. I can't think of why a company would want their SAP data hosted by Google.

Anonymous said...

I agree. This is very interesting adn powerful, but would be more prowerful if it could be hosted internally .

Oudi Antebi said...

I read a couple of comments of people saying that being able to host iGoogle internally would make a lot of sense. These are interesting comments... my personal take is that this shows some lack of readiness for SaaS in some organizations... while They like the products that are available in a SaaS model they are not ready to make that step of trusting the vendor to host their data / apps. I think this is a natural stage in the evolution and expect to see Gartner's predictions on the adoption of SaaS to be accurate (65% of enterprise companies in the next 12 months will adopt some kind of SaaS and the vast majority in the next 5 years will make a major move towards SaaS).

Ken Rudin said...

Hosted dashboards (like the iGoogle platform) address part of the main issue facing BI today -- that being that BI is currently too complicated for most companies to deploy successfully. Even with a hosted portal/dashboard platform, companies are still left with the issue of managing their own data warehouses and analytic infrastructures to manage, process, and analyze the data.

However, hosted BI applications (like LucidEra) address this issue head on by managing that infrastructure as a hosted service and doing all the heavy lifting for the customer. Combining a hosted analytics solution with hosted portals/dashboards (like Google) is a fantastic combination. It's inevitable that BI will evolve in this direction.

Alex T. said...

Interesting comment Ken, My company (fortune 2000) has looked at LucidEra solution and found it a great solution for some pipeline reporting on data but unfortunately didn't solve our problem of getting a "BI solution for the company".

Uploading spreadsheets or all our data was not something we thought was powerful enough so we decided to stick to a more traditional BI solution. With that said, I actually think that using traditional BI solutions that can be deployed in an iGoogle dashboard could give users some "instant mashup" of combining several pieces of data on one screen in a very easy way. And make the solution a lot more attractive and "consumer like" which is exactly what our users want.

Anyway, great post Panorama.