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Leveraging Information and Intelligence

David Linthicum

"Who Needs a Business Intelligence Strategy?"

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Editor's Note: This question is being asked on the ebizQ Forum right here.

Interesting article by Korhan Yunak discussing the creation of a BI strategy within the enterprise, and the core drivers behind it. In essence, while there are many surveys that show that BI is a top priority year after year, "and almost every company invests in some sort of BI initiative." However, very few are talking about their BI programs has a "huge success" or something that dramatically improved the performance of their company?

I've been hitting on this very topic a lot in the last month. Indeed, BI, while an interesting and valuable concept is not getting the implementation and planning resources it requires and thus it's largely tanking within most enterprises. Organizations are implementing a data warehouse and calling it good, but a data warehouse is not necessarily BI, and thus the value may not be there.

The reasons are all over the board, but the core issue is, as Korhan states:

..."there is a big difference between having a data warehouse that is obviously disconnected from the decision making process and having a BI program that is integrated into all aspects of the business and decision making process."

The core issue is lack of focus on the "B" in "BI," or business. Thus, the BI systems fail to reach the core business benefit that the stakeholders are expecting. I know many that are so proud of their very expensive and very sophisticated data warehouses, only to find that they are not solving any significant business problems. Why? Business was never involved.

..."business intelligence is for business, which means that a BI strategy should be adopted by business stakeholders. Stakeholders need to have a good understanding of what the purpose of the BI strategy or program is. To build this common understanding, the first thing to do is take their needs into account at the very beginning. Go to them and ask what it is that business would like to achieve with the BI initiative or program. And then create a strategy document that describes all these objectives and aspects with no reference to any technical consideration."

Core IT continues to manage around hype rather than business objectives, and thus do not have much business benefit from rather costly IT efforts. You may want to review your BI program to make sure you're not these guys, most of you are.

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It seems clear to me that IS/IT should develop a corporate level strategy to provide a framework of 'building blocks'/capabilities that can be used to reduce TCO, then work very closely with the business to see which of those capabilities fits their business needs - and create a BI section with an IS Business Unit Strategy.

This means that techies can stay in their comfort zone for the corporate strategy, but then have a spearate means of communication which should provide the 'golden threads' to ROI and addressing the real business problems.

Industry expert Dave Linthicum tells you what you need to know about building efficiency into the information management infrastructure

David Linthicum

David Linthicum is the CTO of Blue Mountain Labs, and an internationally known distributed computing and application integration expert. View more


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