Friday, April 3, 2009

The Business Intelligence Chronicles Part 3: All that glitters is Gold

Well, this one twists the age old adage on it's head. Yes, all that glitters is gold. And the gold I am talking about is the BI capabilities developed within organizations.

Most times companies are unwilling to share or showcase these to a wider audience. Reasons can be many :
  • Secrecy : Fears that competitors may end up acquiring competitive advantage by becoming aware of BI Strategy/capabilities.
  • Lack of confidence : underestimating own potential and fearing becoming laughing stock
  • Over confidence : "what can we learn from others"
  • Poaching : talent may get poached by others

Left to themselves most BI professionals would love to showcase their work to others, bounce ideas and seek feedback. Most push back comes from the CIO Office. Their fears in most cases are unfounded and can be mitigated/managed.

Competitive advantage/disadvantage does not depend on what your competitor/others know about your BI capabilities but how effective your own Business teams are in using those capabilities effectively and efficiently.In any case, most BI capabilities are vendor driven with everybody having equal access to them. There is an almost zero probability of being taken by surprise.

But in some cases enlightened CIOs have taken the lead in reaching out to their peers in other non-competing organizations and have the BI teams in both places engage in constructive evaluation of each others work. I would love to see more of that happening.

If the idea of showcasing to other companies is a little far fetched, an alternative is to periodically get an independent consultant to review the BI strategy/development and interact with the team and key Business users.

CIOs may feel that it may be viewed by the BI head as an encroachment on their territory.

Nothing can be farther from the truth.

The BI head would love to have the opportunity to "use" the consultant to say to the CIO what they have wanted to say for a long time but haven't been able to or have been saying for a long time and has been falling on deaf ears. (need more servers, need an upgrade, delivering "best of class" despite limited resources, Strategy/Organization needs an overhaul etc. etc.).

The Business would love this opportunity to vent and share their pet peeves about BI (Development Lead times too high, Reports/Cubes not available on time, Key BI contacts not identified etc etc ).

The CIO can look forward to an objective unbiased appraisal.

A win - win for all.

All that glitters is gold but there is no sense keeping it locked up in the vaults, rather put it out on display like in the Gold Souks of Dubai (with proper security and protection) . Or better still invite an independent appraiser to come evaluate it.


Joy said...

Hi Deepak
I agree. The perspective is that the fundamental cause of worry is founded on business insights getting exposed outside a trusted circle. However such people don't realise that the stock market provides a very real time feedback on the same insights.
Joy Bhowmik

Deepak Seth said...


These days one doesn't know what the stock market reflects/does not reflect.

Under perfect conditions it can be a gauge of corporate performance. These days one cannot say.

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