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Change your thinking about BI

An article on the upcoming Gartner BI conference caught my eye. The article said "Gartner research vice president Nigel Rayner will tell delegates at its Business Intelligence Summit at the end of the month, that traditional thinking around BI needs to change if businesses want to reap any benefits.
Rayner is quoted as saying:

‘BI has been around a long time and people do get returns out of it, but it has been technology and infrastructure driven and is not addressing the needs of senior management,’

Now it seems to me that not only does it not address the needs of senior management, it does not support the needs of operational staff either. Not management, not analysts, but people working on the front lines helping customers. It also does not help the software that support customers. Neither BI nor Performance Management will make these high-volume transaction-focused systems better. The systems cannot read reports or look at dashboards. The front-line staff have neither the time nor expertise to draw conclusions from data presented to them. Both front-line staff and front-line systems need decisions - actions to take - about customer treatment. Enterprise Decision Management or EDM is about applying your data to these front-line customer treatment decisions to improve them. BI needs to do more on Performance Management for sure, but you also need EDM to put your performance management into action and give you strategic alignment from your KPIs and dashboards to your front lines. EDM is not BI but it builds on it.

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Comments

Hans Kiebert

Hi James,

Just a brief comment on the Gartner event. This is not very surprising to me. Having been around the BI area for some time, it strikes me that at best Business Intelligence solutions are like tools and wood in a Do-It-Yourself shop. It enables you to make your own furniture with it, but that's all. But where do consumers, in need for a new table, chair or even kitchen, go to? To where they can see finished goods and use it right away for something they can very well describe themselves.
So if you want to sell Business Intelligence, stop talking about it.
Instead:
1 - start talking in terms of how users (board, management, employees) can solve their problems and meet their challenges.
2 - then try to find out where BI and other technologies can help them and tell it to them in terms of answers, not tools or technologies
3 - get them into buying low barrier solutions.
4 - get a champ to sell it for you.
5 - let users come with new ideas where they can apply business intelligence for. It will give you plenty of new furniture ideas.

Kind regards
Hans Kiebert

Oudi Antebi

Absolutely! I’ve been involved in BI for 4 years now formerly with Microsoft and now with Panorama Software…. There is no doubt that BI has not yet made the impact on the business as originally expected.
The main reason for that is the inability of people to FOCUS on the relevant. BI provides nice and fancy ways to bring back large amounts of data from the “backend” now putting it in the front end but there is a big difference between providing data to the users and making it useful. We always ask customers – is your business better or just better informed?
The way to overcome this includes 2 things according to the way we think about BI: ability to apply sophisticated business rules that filters the exceptional from the mundane. By being able to do that, reports only show the data a user should focus on and care about to take meaningful action. The second solution is to put key metrics in non BI tools to really increase adoption. Expecting users to use a BI tool (regardless of how simple it is to use) is not realistic.

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