I once had the privilege of working for many years with a man who was one of the greatest businessmen I have ever met. He was a self-made millionaire, a very sharp accountant, IT solution provider and also one of the most honest and likeable people I have ever known. For the purposes of this article let’s call him JD.
What frustrated him were people who saw a problem as “interesting”. He used to say that the only thing that is “interesting” is the end result – not the problem. And the longer I work in the software sector the more I realise how true that is!
Day in and day out I meet with IT departments that have spend millions of dollars and many years trying to deliver end results for their users, management and board. The trouble for them is that they focus some much of their attention on data perfection that the end user is neglected or forgotten.
Back when I worked with JD, the process of implementing a business intelligence (BI) solution was a long and drawn-out process, because technology did not offer true self-service BI that empowers business users by allowing innovative decision-making.
Thankfully, today there are a few market leading “in-memory” business intelligence products that allow you to visualise data in days or weeks rather than months or years. The ability now exists to use your existing data warehouses or go across multiple applications (eg ERP, CRM, SQL database, Oracle databases, Excel data and even flat files) and deliver virtually instant results.
Some even allow what can be called “Social Business Discovery”, whereby users can make collaborative decisions. After all, no-one makes make decisions just based on hard numbers, they also factor in information from the world around them, including conversations with others.
A couple of these products let IT deliver a complete self-service BI experience, serving the business like never before – all while assuring strict data security, quality and governance.
Most boards will tolerate some delay and reasonable budget spend, however in today’s tough marketplace helping your organisation make informed decisions quickly can only help the business – and the IT departments’ longevity within the organisation.
Therefore if you want to implement a successful BI program in your organisation take the advice of JD – stop talking about the problem, but rather focus on delivering the end result.