What Does BI Mean To You?

Totally an unstructured rant – be very warned ! 🙂

Over the last few weeks , a lot of discussions happened on BI between me and some friends . Essentially – why is it that BI projects seem to stay the same way it was always done even while tools became a lot better ?

To begin with – tools have become better , but not to the level where a user can use it in self service fashion in most cases . So, education is probably the number one issue in the context of BI. Education comes in many flavors – and the easiest one in my mind for a user is the actual tool training . So lets move past that.

There are a few things that have not changed from a BI project POV in several years

1. Users do not understand the data available to them

This needs a lot of bottom up and top down effort to fix . I think top down governance will hit a wall sooner than most of us estimate . Data needs to be explained for each user with real life examples, but that approach is hardly scalable.

BI project plans need to budget time and resources to fix this – but having seen no change in many years , I guess the inertia is just too much

2. Users do not understand what reports are telling them , and most of them have limitations in explaining requirements to IT or consultants

I have done elementary statistics type classes to explain data to users in some past projects . I have a feeling this needs a deeper look to see if such an approach needs to be standard in BI project life cycle.

Users have unrealistic expectations of BI in many cases. This movie is now playing again with predictive Analytics . I see a lot of users and consultants having limited idea of what a predictive model is telling them and what it’s limitations are . No wonder several of them crash and burn .

3. IT and consultants takes a one size fits all approach for BI , and spends little effort in acknowledging BI is personal , not generic

This won’t change till BI is no longer treated as a side kick for ERP . People personalize ERP quite a bit ( at least compared to BI) , and that rigor needs to get into more BI projects .

There are a dozen more things , but I feel better already after typing 3 to get it off my chest

Sorry – had to rant . Will try to not do this too often .