Monday, September 27, 2010

Who owns BI in your company?

Who owns Business Intelligence?

This is almost seems like a silly (possibly stupid) question - The word business is even part of the question!  So... who owns it at your company?
Is it the 'business' (eg finance, sales, customer service) or folks within the information technology organization (IT)?  

Todays Symptoms:  IT has grown tired of users asking for new reports, 'cubes', charts, and/or visualizations, etc... and the business has reached a new level of frustration waiting for delivery of those requests, and the cost at which the come.  Maybe this can help settle the debate within your company.

How did we get here?:  In today's economy IT has been asked to do so much more with even less resources.  As business leaders are tasked to be more creative in improving the bottom line their requests for good information and analytics increases the burden on an already shrinking IT workforce.  Delivery cycles grow longer the business becomes impatient, Excel hell begins (aka spread-marts) as the business starts pulling together its own data, possible creating metrics and KPIs using sources that are not 'sanctioned' by IT.  Shadow IT efforts are on the rise, tempers flare when the numbers are inaccurate. We all know where it goes from there.

Argument for IT: The business folks often need to be reminded that there is good reason for IT to play a central role in delivering BI.  Data governance, regulatory control, security, they all play a role in why IT must be in the game.  

Argument for the business: On the other hand, for BI to be successful, it is imperative that BI be driven by the business. With any enterprise IT initiative - if the business is not involved in the design, the system will fail (or simply go unused).  

Let's face it, the questions asked by the business are ever changing.  We know that business leaders today most likely know the questions they will be asking tomorrow.  This is the challenge to the business as focus is continually changing under todays economical conditions and increased competition.  The information they get from the first report they received from IT leads to what seems like a set of endless possibilities on how they can measure the business.  With the rise of each new question more burden is put on the IT staff to deliver and deliver in a timely manner.

What is the right strategy in today's market?

In order to be successful we must satisfy the requirements of both IT and the Business.  This is best done by relying on IT for data provisioning and the business for analytics and reporting.

This dichotomy insures that the business is using data that has passed the checks and balances of a sound data governance strategy (yes - I am making an assumption that there is a data governance strategy in place).  This strategy can mean vary in its complexity from company to company (data stewardship, data quality, meta data management, etc...).  Allowing the business to own the development of analytics and reporting insures the they have proper control over the speed in which they can deliver that analysis and information to decision makers.  The business can then deploy tools that are designed for rapid development and deployment - without the wait for costly IT development cycles. 

It seems so simple when you put it on paper.  In many of today's enterprise companies there are significant walls that need to be torn down to facilitate this collaborative approach to BI.  One way to help deliver this kind of value is to embrace the concept of a  BI Center of Competency (BICC) to oversee the process.  The BICC is sponsored by the business with support from IT, insuring that the concepts of data governance, security, and controls are well defined.  More on BICC in a future post (stay tuned).


1 comment:

  1. I have read your blog and I gathered some needful information from your blog. Keep update your blog. Awaiting for your next update.

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