Analytics, a rising issue for customers

A recurring theme at IGeLU 2015 was the state of Ex LIbris Analytics tools and an assessment of emerging customer needs in these areas. In the General Q&A alone, there were 6 questions related to analytics, with more questions appearing in the Alma and Primo product QA sessions. This is evidence of a great deal of anxiety in the customer base about whether Ex Libris’ SaaS offering will offer sufficient data access for customers to pursue the same degree of business analytics and data analysis that were possible using the database access afforded by previous systems.

Ex Libris is continuing to work on these concerns, making both functional and stability-focused improvements to the Analytics Platform for Alma.  Ex Libris is also introducing an Oracle Business Intelligence Analytics Platform for SaaS Primo instances as well. However, this Primo offering will be the focus of new analytics developments, at the expense of the existing RPT00 and BIRT functionality that Primo Customers have come to rely on.

IGeLU will form a new Focus Group on Analytics, managed jointly with ELUNA and modeled on the Linked Open Data and Interoperability SIWGs. This group’s charge has not yet been written, but the focus of the group will be on ensuring that the canned and customizable reporting features of both Alma and SaaS Primo are sufficient to meet the varied and complex needs of customers. Use cases and examples of reports will be collected and shared with Ex LIbris. Additionally, the group will provide examples of “exploratory data analysis”, which does not lend itself as well to canned reporting functionality. Finally, for customers who wish to manage their analytics in external data warehouses, the group will provide recommendations on enhanced publishing mechanisms for both Primo and Alma to support this emerging customer need.

Corey Harper