Business Intelligence Isn’t Dead. It’s Just Been Redefined.

In 2016, Gartner said that business intelligence is dead. Why did they say that? According to the company , “the balance of power for business intelligence (BI) and analytics platform buying decisions has gradually shifted from IT to the business as the long-standing BI requirement for centrally provisioned, highly governed and scalable system-of-record reporting has been counterbalanced by the need for analytical agility and business user autonomy.”

The translation is, BI isn’t dead; the definition has just been changed. There’s been a shift from legacy/traditional BI to a more modern, business-centric analytics stack. Why did this occur? Because of burns left by the previous legacy stack. No one knew who was in control.

Why Perspective is Important

To look at business intelligence properly, you have to look at it from a business perspective versus an IT perspective. IT still thinks of legacy BI as an integrated solution with a complex back end, long delivery time and heavy governance. When you look at it from a business angle, you see the need to be closer to data, have faster delivery of its insight and to take action quicker.

IT needs to ensure governance; the struggle is definitely real. But it shouldn’t hinder a company’s willingness to take on a BI strategy. The real question is, what is BI and what does it mean?

Is it simply spreadsheets and access databases? Is it a multi-year data warehouse initiative with a traditional BI stack?

Or is it empowering the business with the ability to bring together and visualize data?

(Hint: it’s the latter.)

What Executives Might Not Know About a Good BI Strategy

Still, all the perspective in the world is useless without knowledge, which a company needs before committing to BI. Here are key elements of a good BI strategy that executives might not be aware of:

  • Business and IT alignment: They have to be aligned and working together. From a business perspective, executives have to realize IT needs to have control/governance over who has access to data and stay respectively within certain boundaries. IT needs to enable the business to answer the questions they have in a fast and intuitive manor..
  • Defined and agreed purpose: Companies need a vision for what that journey should be to deliver BI and analytics. There should be a shared excitement in the BI journey from both the business and IT.
  • A long-term mindset: BI is not just a light switch that you flip on and now you a have an implemented BI strategy. To create momentum in organization, there needs to be a strategy about developing the right people, processes, culture, and technology for the long haul. A previous blog post breaks down these components.
  • Maintained governance: With the modern BI stack, it is easy to create the “Wild West” where different people are creating different data sources and different analytics, but you don’t want to avoid or over govern this creativity in your culture. It’s important to enable some sort of freedom, but maintain governance over your certified data sources.
  • Socialized success: There needs to be a place where you can create excitement by socializing wins (via table talks, emails, SharePoint, Yammer, etc.), but don’t be afraid to step out and share different wins across the organization.

At the end of the day you need to produce an ROI quickly on your BI initiative.

How a BI Consulting Firm Can Help with BI Strategy Development

Even with perspective and knowledge, outside assistance can still be beneficial. A BI consulting firm has experience, for one. They’ve seen what works and what hasn’t — experiencing bumps, bruises and headaches along the way. This experience prevents your organization from having to experience the same hiccups.

A BI consulting firm can also structure a way of assessing where you’re at on a maturity model and frameworks that have been proven successful in helping companies implement a greater BI roadmap — whether that’s integrating a tool or delivering a whole center of excellence. At the end of the day, the frameworks and ecosystem a BI consulting firm creates allow you to be able to get a return on your investment in a short amount of time.

BI isn’t dead; it’s just been redefined. With the right perspective, knowledge and help, it can create immense value for your organization.

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