Business intelligence (BI) is an evergreen that simply refuses to give up and get commoditized. Even though very few vendors try to differentiate these days on commodity features like point and click, drag and drop, report grouping, ranking, and sorting filtering (for those that still do: Get with the program!), there are still plenty of innovative and differentiated features to master. We categorize these capabilities under the aegis of Forrester agile BI; they include:
Market conditions are changing quickly; firms need to make the best possible business decisions at the right time and base them on timely, accurate, and relevant information from business intelligence (BI) solutions. The repercussions of not handling BI change well are especially painful and may include lost revenue, lower staff morale and productivity, continued proliferation of shadow IT BI applications, and unwanted employee departures. Ineffective change management often lies in the process of preparing the people affected by change rather than in planning the technology implementation. Firms that fail to prepare employees for enterprise BI change early enough or well enough will be left behind. They need to implement a multifaceted series of activities ranging from management communication about why change is needed to in-depth, role-appropriate employee training.
Initial business intelligence (BI) ployment efforts are often difficult to predict and may dwarf the investment you made in BI platform software. The effort and costs associated with professional services, whether you use internal staff or hire contractors, depend not only on the complexity of business requirements like metrics, measures, reports, dashboards, and alerts, but also on the number of data sources you are integrating, the complexity of your data integration processes, and logical and physical data modeling. At the very least Forrester recommends considering the following components and their complexity to estimate development, system integration and deployment effort:
CEOs and other senior executives must identify ways to improve their enterprise performance by boosting profitability, raising market share, and leapfrogging competitors. But achieving these objectives is not as simple as just looking at the numbers. What about nonfinancial measures (e.g., customer loyalty and employee satisfaction) that don't show up in financial accounting? How do you quickly and efficiently get the full 360-degree view of your business?
In order to execute their business strategy, business and IT execs need a business-focused, strategic, and pragmatic way to measure their finances and operations -- popularly referred to as business intelligence (BI). Without such measurements -- supported by enterprisewide BI deployments -- businesses can't link operational results to strategy. Organizations will also find it difficult to get a coherent view of their internal and external processes, customers, logistics, operations, and finances.
However, most firms struggle with BI strategies and programs because turning data into information is an open-ended concept. They frequently go in the wrong direction because of traditional (and often outdated) views and approaches and a focus on technology instead of business, which results in BI programs that are tactical and only project-based. What these firms need is an approach to BI that, while staying true to the importance of long-term vision and looking across silos, provides the flexibility to accommodate varying levels of resource commitment and the political, historical, and cultural obstacles that BI programs often face. Think of Forrester's new business intelligence playbook as your BI bible; it should guide your BI decisions every step of the way.
BI professionals spend a significant portion of their time trying to instill the discipline of datadriven performance management into their business partners. However, isn't there something wrong with teaching someone else to fly when you're still learning to walk? Few BI pros have a way to measure their BI performance quantitatively (46% do not measure BI performance efficiencies and 55% do not measure effectiveness). Everyone collects statistics on the database and BI application server performance, and many conduct periodic surveys to gauge business users' level of satisfaction. But how do you really know if you have a high-performing, widely used, popular BI environment? For example, you should know BI performance
Those who have implemented what Forrester calls "BI on BI" are in nirvana land reaping the following benefits such as ability to quantitatively support
We all work very hard to make our BI initiatives, programs, platforms, applications, and tools very successful. We need a break. And what better way to relax than to joke about what we do? So... as my favorite Monty Python's Flying Circus bit goes, "And now for something completely different [in BI]":
Looking for lots more to brighten up our BI days, so please post away!
Mobile BI and cloud BI are among the top trends that we track in the industry. Our upcoming Enterprise BI Platforms Wave™ will dedicate a significant portion of vendor evaluation on these two capabilities. These capabilities are far from yes/no checkmarks. Just asking vague questions like "Can you deliver your BI functionality on mobile devices?" and "Is your BI platform available in the cloud as software-as-a-service?" will lead to incomplete vendor answers, which in turn may lead you to make the wrong vendor selections. Instead, we plan to evaluate these two critical BI platform capabilities along the following parameters:
Clients often ask me to help define their job description for a business intelligence (BI) leader, executive, or manager. Here's what I typically provide:
Finally, here's a description of a senior BI architect/manager/executive that I've used in the past. I would love to hear from everyone on what's missing, what can be added, changed, etc.
Job title: Director/manager/VP of business intelligence
Reports to: Chief operations officer, chief strategy officer, chief information officer, chief financial officer (more popular in the past than the present) or some of the newer titles such as chief customer officer, chief data officer, or chief analytics officer.
Job description: The director/manager/VP of BI has primary responsibility for setting the strategy and vision and for managing the day-to-day tactical operations of the BI teams. He/she will be responsible for all strategic, tactical, operational, financial, human, and technical resource managerial responsibilities associated with the following BI and BI-related functional areas:
* < 10 : 1
* 10-24 : 1
* 25-49 : 1
* 50-74 : 1
* 75-99 : 1
* 100-199 : 1
* 200 - 499: 1
* > 500 : 1
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