Business Intelligence: Software or a State of Mind?

What’s your organization’s mindset? (Image by Paul Foreman)

A common adage in the BI Industry is that information is an organization’s most valuable resource.  But, what exactly is it about information that makes it so pivotal to an organization’s success?  At first, the answer appears obvious. Information provides a snapshot of an organization. It tells us where the organization has been, how it is currently performing, and creates expectations and initiatives for the future.  Most people understand that the goal of business intelligence software is to allow an organization to efficiently harness information to that end, and here is where it becomes important to make at least one important distinction:

While BI software makes it possible for an organization to harness information efficiently, only a BI mindset can allow an organization to use their information effectively.

Every year, advancements in BI software technology open the door to a new realm of possibilities. Never before has an organization had so many options available from so many different vendors, each promising better performance, better results, and higher rates of adoption.  But without a notion of the kinds of objectives an organization is striving to achieve, the technology – however advanced – is rendered useless. Thus, for any organization that is considering a BI Implementation, it becomes crucial to ask:

How have we prepared our organization to use this newly harnessed information effectively?

I suspect that this answer will vary greatly depending on the organization’s size,  the nature of the industry,  and the ability of the company as a whole to adapt to the necessary changes as they become evident.  But, at the very least, a BI mindset will warrant an investment in BI software while ensuring that an organization uses its most valuable resource both efficiently and effectively.