Robust information delivery architectures? Global DW infrastructures? Flexible BI frameworks? Yes, Yes, Yes!! Business Intelligence the agile way? “Not quite!”
While over the years, flexible, scalable BI has become a reality for most companies with decent resources and enough knowledge, embracing a comprehensive BI methodology that allows businesses to react promptly to market change is still elusive. Agile BI is one such attempt to overcome the ever-increasing gap between BI developmental practices and the pace of market-change itself. It’s the subject-matter of most BI thought leadership pieces that I have read in the last couple of years, and it is the focus of this blog-post as well.
One of the primary reasons why BI remains unattainable is that it is not the same as any other enterprise system. With most enterprise architectures, once the software is procured and the requirements gathered, one can expect an app to be actively used for a couple of years, with of course, minor changes over time. However, if you ‘productionize’ your first BI iteration in that same window of time, it could very well be obsolete by then! And that is precisely why BI still remains a CIO’s predominant challenge, and the focus continues to be on agility in BI.
Agile BI emphasizes the early delivery of prioritized, production-quality applications to the business community – and continually adapting to their feedback in order to build the right type of apps. The key, however, is to define and implement a middle-ground approach that creates agile organizational structures which, in turn, promote proactive adoption of agile development practices. Effectively delivering small increments of business value and continuously evolving your BI solution in collaboration and close coordination with the business is the secret behind the success of this methodology. The tricky part, however, is in applying it successfully to large – global – phased BI/DW programs.
If you have mastered the art of agility in Enterprise BI and are willing to discuss your experiences, I would like to hear from you.