A quick search on the internet on Business Intelligence brings up a myriad of results:
a) Big Data analytics helps to analyze large volumes of data – Is this BI?
b) Data Virtualization brings together enterprise data from multiple, disparate sources– Is this BI?
c) Data discovery tools offer agility and high performance for faster data exploration – is this BI?
None of this is Business Intelligence. The term Business Intelligence (BI) is often confused for a technology. However, the technologies that go by the name of BI are only a means to an end. The end still remains the information, insights and actions delivered through this technology platform. This understanding is critical to the success of Business Intelligence.
An often cited metric about Business Intelligence is that more than 50% of BI projects fail. Even as one questions the veracity of the claim, it is but common knowledge that BI projects drag on for a long period without producing concrete business deliverables. One of the primary reasons that this happens and that BI projects are not considered successful is that success in a BI project is seldom established.
It is not often that organizations make a conscious effort to create a business intelligence vision, which underlines the success criteria for the BI platform. In many organizations, BI initiatives start with one section of the business and gradually evolve to cover other areas. When this happens or when there is an attempt to consolidate several independent local BI initiatives together into an organization-wide BI platform without a clear vision and a direction, the outcome is often less than desirable.
The BI vision is essentially a set of clearly defined business objectives and a bunch of relevant metrics to track the progress towards the objectives and the final outcome. It is important to ensure that there are metrics that reflect both internal (mostly relevant at the divisional level) and external effectiveness (relevant at the organization / market level) and that they are aligned with each other and to the business objectives.
There are several industry-standard methodologies such as the Balanced Scorecard, the Performance Pyramid that are available to deduce strategic metrics or performance indicators in alignment to the overall strategy / business objectives.
Do you want your BI program to be success? Do you have a vision for your Business Intelligence?