donderdag 14 november 2013

Business Intelligence has become too big to allow failure.

Four speakers between Ralph Kimball’s sessions, four topics and one unifying thought: BI is getting to big to allow failure. The first Business Analytics for All Insight session which took place in Brussels the 12th November gathered over 250 attendees to hear Ralph Kimball’s insights on the data warehouse design principles and how the Big Data phenomenon fits in this architecture. I gladly refer to the Kimball Group’s website with articles like these for his vision on Big Data.  

But between Ralph’s talks in the morning and in the afternoon, four other topics were discussed which all lead to the same conclusion: BI has become too big, too much of a strategic commitment to allow for sloppy business analysis and project management.
Annelies Aquarius, European BI Project manager from the Coca-Cola Company illustrated the anytime- anything-anywhere aspects of mobile BI. Jelle Defraye from Laco made a case for self service BI.  Jos Van Dongen from SAS taught us the basics from data visualisation and Guy Van der Zande from USG ICT Professionals explained why a well organised BI Competence Center (BICC) is essential to manage technology trends and changing business requirements.

For a full description of their talks we refer to the website.

It is time for proper BI business analysis and project management

Let me explain my point. With the growth of users, user types, data a lot of side effects have come into play since the early days of DSS where you offloaded a few tables to make reports for the CFO.
Exabytes of data flowing in at incredibly high speeds from a myriad of data sources in structured, semi-structured and structured formats need to be exploited by more people in a faster decision making cycle which is not limited to the strategic apex anymore. Thus the feedback loops become more complicated as the one-to-many relationship of top management and the workforce now becomes a many-to-many relationship between more and more decision making actors in the organisation. Self service BI, mobile BI and visualisation are all part of the solution and the problem if your organisation has no duopolistic governance from IT and the business. because both business processes and data management processes need to be mutually adjusted to allow for maximum return on investment . The alternative is chaos. So there you have the true value of  a well working BICC.
But to get there and to stay on that level, only a thorough business analysis process and the proper BI project management method will increase the success rate of business analytics. This success rate worries me. Because after twenty years in this business I am still seeing failure rates of 80% in BI. If we’d had the same rate of improvement in medicine as in BI we would still be using leeches and bleeding our patients regardless of the disease.