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Don’t Let Your BI Strategy Atrophy


I have been with a number of companies that have completed a BI Strategy, but have not followed and implemented the strategy.   Generally, we have seen two overarching reasons for this.  Either the strategy was allowed to atrophy OR there was something fundamentally wrong with the BI Strategy in the first place. I will focus on the atrophying of a BI Strategy in this blog entry and will address the common mistakes & best practices in a subsequent blog entry.

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When a BI Strategy is documented and finalized, it represents a vision and a set of actions that were based on analysis over a given time period, usually 2-4months.   From the day the BI Strategy is published, the business conditions and the macro-technical environment continues to advance.  New business priorities evolve which are different from the priorities on which the BI Strategy was based.  Technology companies are constantly releasing new solutions.  Thus, the inputs into the BI Strategy keep on changing after the BI Strategy is finalized.  This results in a BI Strategy that becomes dated as it ages.  Although, this seems obvious, the rate of atrophy is actually quite quick.  In the cases where I have seen companies shelve the BI Strategy, this has happened as quickly as 6-12 months.

A company’s BI Strategy should not be viewed as static, but should evolve as the overall business and technology environment evolves.   To do this, the BI Strategy must have a clear owner that is willing to manage the BI Strategy.  This includes establishing a team of key stakeholders to provide input and manage the change of the strategy.   This team could be the BI steering committee; however, this governance team usually approves major revisions to the BI Strategy, but does not make the recommendations.   The detailed work to manage the strategy, research, program planning, etc. will usually be accomplished by a single person or a small working team.   To assure consistency and objectivity companies should also consider retaining the consulting firm that completed the strategy to provide advisory services to guide the evolution of the BI Strategy.

By managing and changing the BI Strategy it assure that it represents the BI Plan based on the most current business and technology environment.  This will help keep the BI Strategy at the forefront of the program, and assure its continued implementation.

Thoughts on “Don’t Let Your BI Strategy Atrophy”

  1. Nice post, Bill! Thank you for your insights. Any suggestions on how one might get exposure to developing and implementing a BI Strategy for an organization?

  2. Frankie Van Cleave

    Amen, Bill. I seem to remember being involved with you in one of those companies that let their excellent BI program die on the vine!

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Jim Miller

Mr. Miller is an IBM certified and accomplished Senior Project Leader and Application/System Architect-Developer with over 30 years of extensive applications and system design and development experience. His current role is National FPM Practice Leader. His experience includes BI, Web architecture & design, systems analysis, GUI design and testing, Database modeling and systems analysis, design, and development of Client/Server, Web and Mainframe applications and systems utilizing: Applix TM1 (including TM1 rules, TI, TM1Web and Planning Manager), dynaSight - ArcPlan, ASP, DHTML, XML, IIS, MS Visual Basic and VBA, Visual Studio, PERL, Websuite, MS SQL Server, ORACLE, SYBASE SQL Server, etc. His Responsibilities have included all aspects of Windows and SQL solution development and design including: analysis; GUI (and Web site) design; data modeling; table, screen/form and script development; SQL (and remote stored procedures and triggers) development and testing; test preparation and management and training of programming staff. Other experience includes development of ETL infrastructure such as data transfer automation between mainframe (DB2, Lawson, Great Plains, etc.) systems and client/server SQL server and Web based applications and integration of enterprise applications and data sources. In addition, Mr. Miller has acted as Internet Applications Development Manager responsible for the design, development, QA and delivery of multiple Web Sites including online trading applications, warehouse process control and scheduling systems and administrative and control applications. Mr. Miller also was responsible for the design, development and administration of a Web based financial reporting system for a 450 million dollar organization, reporting directly to the CFO and his executive team. Mr. Miller has also been responsible for managing and directing multiple resources in various management roles including project and team leader, lead developer and applications development director. Specialties Include: Cognos/TM1 Design and Development, Cognos Planning, IBM SPSS and Modeler, OLAP, Visual Basic, SQL Server, Forecasting and Planning; International Application Development, Business Intelligence, Project Development. IBM Certified Developer - Cognos TM1 (perfect score 100% on exam) IBM Certified Business Analyst - Cognos TM1

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