Business people need to be given BI tools that enable self-service BI

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Business people need to be given BI tools that enable self-service BI

blog_goldfishIn a previous blog post, The problems with BI development, I wrote the rut into which many BI implementations have become stuck.

In order to break the BI backlog, move towards more pervasive BI and increase the BI business ROI, an enterprise needs to make fundamental changes to their BI efforts. These changes are interrelated and necessary for success.

For an enterprise to truly experience a BI breakout, here are four of the things we should do differently:

  1. Business people need to be given BI tools that enable self-service BI
  2. Triage business requests for new BI deliverables such as dashboards, reports, cubes
  3. Establish hybrid BI development methodology
  4. IT needs to concentrate on creating an information backbone

I’ll discuss the first one below, and the rest in upcoming blog posts.

Business people need to be given BI tools that enable self-service BI

There are many new or evolving BI tools that enable business people to access the data they need on a recurring basis and perform much of their exploratory business analytics. BI analytical styles such as data discovery, data visualization, OLAP (On-Line Analytical Processing) analysis and interactive BI were built for business people rather than IT folks creating a flurry of reports.

Although these tools will produce initial excitement, especially with business power users, they will not, in isolation, bring about the fundamental change necessary. The cautions:

  • Properly set expectations and position these tools in an enterprise BI portfolio. Too many self-service projects greatly oversell what these tools can do. Most BI projects fail not for technical reasons but because they fail to live up to lofty expectations.
  • IT cannot throw self-service BI tools over the cubical wall and then walk away leaving business people on their own.
  • Business people cannot just get this software deployed and expect to not talk with IT anymore.
  • The key caution is do not expect these tools to answer business questions in the long-term without a robust information backbone.

Check back in a couple of days for #2, “Triage business requests for new BI deliverables such as dashboards, reports, cubes.”

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