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Data & Intelligence

2012: Business Intelligence at top of CIO’s priority list.

According to Gartner’s 2012 survey Business Intelligence is at the top of CIO priority lists. CIO has a really great article here on the subject that I feel is worth noting. Especially the following section:

“I think it dropped off the top for a couple of years because expectations were really high, and they weren’t really met,” said Dave Aron, vice president and a fellow in Gartner’s CIO Research group.

The underlying technology wasn’t necessarily the culprit, but reasons for the disillusion were more on a corporate level. Companies not having the right business focus, or making sure that business intelligence efforts were really used right, according to Aron.

The reason business intelligence has made a comeback is because a lot of the trends CIOs hear about now, including more real-time data, big data and social networks, means there is a huge opportunity again.

“To be honest, I am still worried that enterprises still haven’t got the skills and resources to make it happen,” said Aron.

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And, as usual, Mr. Aron is absolutely correct.  Many companies still try to run their Business Intelligence platforms like they do their transactional systems or they leave it in the wild west creating a chimera of an implementation with pieces bolted on wherever it made sense at the time. And then CIOs are left holding what they feel is a combustible lemon of a system.

So how to avoid that, or fix it? A lot of what I’d suggest is actually already in my “Taming the Hydra” and “Why Some BI Implementations become unmanageable Part 1” posts and really you could write an entire book about how to avoid common mistakes, and frankly many people have.  But here are some general rules of thumb.

  • If Business Intelligence is important to you then your organization should reflect that
  • Data governance is as important as project governance
  • Be realistic of your team’s (both IT and business) capabilities and ability to deliver
  • Don’t try to push new technology on the business unless they ask for it
  • Your business sponsors largely drive you to success or ruin. Engage at the appropriate levels (and not all those levels will be at the top).

There are plenty more which I will discuss in later posts. But with this news out there and Business Intelligence community largely chomping at the bit it is worth calling Shakespeare’s admonition to mind, “Wisely and slow, they stumble that run fast.”

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