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BI Experts’ Perspective: Revitalizing BI

Is it common for BI to become “old news” in mature BI environments? If so, what are some things BI directors have done to revitalize interest in BI?

Business Intelligence Journal

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Carol Williams has worked in BI at Alpha Manufacturing for five years and has been BI director for the past two. When Carol was hired, Alpha was beginning a BI initiative.The company had no single, integrated source of decision support data, and (not surprisingly) reports were inconsistent and often lacked needed data. Most analysis was done using Excel spreadsheets.

Carol and her BI team developed the company’s first data warehouse and successfully introduced a reporting and analysis tool for end users. Several years later, the CEO got behind a business performance initiative that provided dashboards for management and enabled operational personnel to perform tasks associated with critical business processes. This initiative, which was largely completed a year and a half ago, was also successful. Carol’s performance on these projects led to her promotion to BI director.

The company’s long-time CEO announced recently that he is retiring. This causes Carol some concern, because the CEO was a key supporter of BI. Furthermore, it sometimes seems that BI has become “old news.” People take the warehouse and dashboards for granted, and there are no new initiatives on the horizon to create excitement about BI.

Carol has seen this before—not only with BI, but also with other initiatives. There is great early support for an initiative, the project is completed, everyone is pleased with the outcome, and then—over time—it ends up being taken for granted. This seems to be the current situation at Alpha.

This has caused Carol to ask some questions:

  • Is it common for BI to become “old news” in mature BI environments?
  • If so, what are some things other BI directors have done to revitalize interest in BI?
  • In particular, what might Carol do in her situation?

Carol sees the arrival of a new CEO as a double-edged sword. She hates to lose the CEO who has been supportive of BI, but a new CEO is likely to bring about changes that will require BI support (or at least, that is the positive spin that Carol is putting on it). This raises a final question:

  • What actions can Carol take—both before and after the new CEO arrives—to put BI in the spotlight again?

This article originally appeared in the issue of Transforming Data with Intelligence.

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