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Eckerson Group: Governed Data Discovery

March 3, 2016

BI Tools that Balance Flexibility and Standards

Business intelligence (BI) is fueled by two opposing forces: top-down BI, in which the corporate IT group imposes standards on the delivery of data and reports to ensure a single version of truth, and bottom-up BI, in which business unit analysts create their own reports with custom data sets. In most organizations, these two camps are at war: corporate IT locks down data and reports, frustrating business units who then circumvent IT by hiring their own business analysts to create the reports they need when they need them. 


This report argues that top-down and bottom-up BI are flip sides of the same coin and explains that organizations must devise organizational, architectural, and technical frameworks to harmonize these polar opposites. The report then describes the rise of data discovery tools as a bottom-up reaction to heavy-handed BI teams and traditional enterprise BI tools. Data discovery tools have crushed the top-down camp’s monopoly of BI, but in so doing, they have unleashed a bevy of data silos and inconsistent reports. 


Finally, the report shows how modern BI platforms blend the best of both top-down and bottom-up BI in a governed discovery environment that tailors self-service capabilities to business users based on their roles, responsibilities, proclivities, and skills. It concludes by profiling several leading governed discovery tools, explaining how they balance freedom and control in a data delivery environment. 

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