A recent article on SearchDataManagement.com about a Gartner Group conference on Business Intelligence (BI) discusses the fact that business intelligence is probably the number one priority for CIOs, but most companies have not translated that prioritization into high value.
That conclusion doesn’t surprise me. I’ve been arguing for sometime that most businesses under-utilize their data assets. Here are a couple of blog posts, looking at topics like BI as an oxymoron, technology and culture, and the key drivers of Best-in-Class manufacturing.
In this latest story, I especially like this prescription for addressing the problem:
IT workers must reconsider how they deliver information to end users. Traditionally, on one end of the spectrum, users either access information through static reports or through ad hoc queries, Schlegel said. Instead, IT should focus on developing interactive reports to meet both demands.
On the other end of the spectrum, more sophisticated users often create their own spreadmarts, which by definition fall outside the view of IT, to make up for the limitations of ad hoc queries. IT departments should develop data discovery environments that empower users to do the analysis they need, but which also let them connect that analysis back to the organization.
That sounds to me like a dashboard that users can drill into to get to the underlying data. It sounds to me like an analysis wizard that guides users to the underlying sources of variation in a process.
IT people do sometimes lose sight of their real goal. As one conference attendee, Chad Erman, head of BI for Southwestern Energy put it, “We noticed a lot of people think in terms of reports, instead of BI or key metrics. What I constantly had to remind them is: What is the question you’re trying to answer? Then work to achieve that goal.”
Getting business leaders the right tools can go a long way to enabling that shift.