Tuesday, March 10, 2009

How BI Should Work

By Mark Brousseau

Kevin Quinn, vice president of product marketing at Information Builders (www.informationbuilders.com), says that there are three levels of business intelligence: strategic, analytical and operational.

The strategic level helps companies monitor performance and communicate strategy. The analytical level isolates information to identify the good and the bad and provide historical trends, as well as forecasts. And the operational level helps automate and accelerate business processes.

These three levels of business work in conjunction with one another to drive business improvements. The trouble is that most organizations implement them as completely separate initiatives, Quinn said today during a presentation at the Gartner Business Intelligence Summit 2009 in Washington, D.C.

For instance, many organizations implement performance management and scorecards at the highest level of the organization, but never bring them down, Quinn said. In fact, Quinn cited a survey showing that most organizations have deployed business intelligence capabilities to fewer than 20 percent of their internal users. That’s a problem since 80 percent of the world’s data resides outside of the data warehouse, Quinn said. “This means that there is no direction at the middle levels of the company. People have to shoot blind and hope for the best,” he said. “Operations will never know if it is working on the right things if it isn’t getting direction from analytical business intelligence.”

“This isn’t how business intelligence should work,” Quinn said. “Companies are neglecting what they can do at the bottom levels of their organizations or the front lines, which is where they can get the highest return on investment. It’s only when you take action at the operational level that you get the largest benefits. Companies should have the three levels of business intelligence work together.”

What do you think? Post your comments below.

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