The Intelligence is in the Data, not the Software

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The Intelligence is in the Data, not the Software

I am an avid reader of the Wall Street Journal (WSJ) Business Technology blog written by Ben
Worthen. In his post “Good
Decisions Aren’t Easy
” on December
19, 2007 he states that:

Business intelligence’ isn’t just an oxymoron. It’s also a
hot new technology that your business is most likely trying or evaluating. But
be prepared: One BI veteran warns that it’s not as easy as just installing

And concludes that:

Businesses that decide to buy BI and data warehousing
software need to understand the effort it takes to ensure the integrity of the
data that they’re hoping to base decisions on.

I couldn’t agree
more. It’s not about the technology; it’s about the data. More precisely it’s
about data integration. Tools help implement, but it’s the people, politics and
processes that enable the definition of your data, business transformations and
performance measures.

That means IT talking to business people and business
people talking to each other to reach consensus on these definitions. If you
don’t have data governance in the long run it won’t matter what BI software you
are using, the business users won’t be getting value out of your BI efforts or
maybe they won’t even be using the software.

As an aside, it’s funny to hear BI described as a “hot new
technology.” Although it is hot, for the veterans who have been working on
these solutions for a while (two decades in my case) new doesn’t seem to be the

Also, I’d modify the statement “…that your business is most
likely trying or evaluating (BI software)” to say your company IS most likely
using, trying or evaluating BI. Many companies already have a couple
of generations of BI projects under their belts. But BI is NOT pervasive yet, even
at many of the companies that have had BI for a while, so there is a lot of
potential for growth.

The bottom line: Business intelligence is hot because
business information is hot. You’ll need software to get that information to
business people so they can use it, but you’ll need data integration to make
the right information available.

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