For the second year in a row, studies have revealed that business intelligence tools (BI) is the number one technology priority for business leaders. Earlier this year, Gartner surveyed 1,400 CIOs, with the vast majority emphasising the importance of BI as a strategic initiative. But even though firms are acknowledging that BI is instrumental in driving business effectiveness and innovation, there remains a sticking point when it comes to actual execution of the business intelligence strategy.
If the dominant theme in business intelligence is that of ‘communication’ then it is ironic that many BI strategies can be undone by a deficiency in this very area. In particular, a communication problem commonly exists between the business leaders, IT team and users that all play such a critical role in the success of a BI strategy. So what is the solution? How can firms ensure that users and executive alike understand the important role of BI? How can they ensure that communication lines across the business are built to avoid the creation of BI application silos? And how they ensure that BI activism is aligned as new technologies emerge and business needs change?
The key, according to Gartner, is that good business intelligence needs a good team. And this, it suggests, can be established through the creation of a BI competency centre.
“IT is the supply side of BI and business is the demand side and they both have to figure out where they want to take a BI initiative. It needs to have some kind of programme office and a steering committee – and that is what we call the BI competency centre.” Andreas Bitterer, research vice president, Gartner“Communication between IT and business often breaks down, and there is a disconnect between the people who are doing the work and the executives in terms of what the technology can deliver,” explains Andreas Bitterer, research vice president at Gartner. “Executives can have a very limited view of what BI does… there is certainly a widespread misconception of what BI is, what it is used for, who is using it, and so on. IT is the supply side of BI and business is the demand side and they both have to figure out where they want to take this initiative, so it needs to have some kind of programme office and a steering committee – and that is what we call the BI competency centre.”
Most organisations lack the communication and organisational commitment to manage, implement and support BI projects, and the skills that they have are either limited or spread across the organisation. Consisting of representatives from several departments and consolidating the relevant skills, the BI competency centre’s role is to champion the BI technologies and address issues associated with BI projects.