An InetSoft BI Webinar: Why BI Programs Do Not Achieve Full Success

This is the transcript of a Webinar hosted by InetSoft in March 2018 on the topic of "The Importance of Having a BI Strategy". The presenter is Mark Flaherty, CMO at InetSoft.

Mark Flaherty (MF): So first off, let's talk a little bit about what’s going on with BI programs in a lot of customer situations, because from my experience many of these BI programs have not really achieved full success. They don’t live up to their potential and some of them fail outright. What have been some of our observations as to why that happens in the first place?

Well I think the principle reason that business intelligence deployments don’t succeed is simply because the organizations frankly don’t have a plan. They don’t have a strategic plan for BI in the organization. Typically they have acquired a specific product for a specific need. Or it was the bright shiny object they saw when walking around the trade show floor. Or maybe it was from the most recent phone call they got from someone in the business who had a very specific problem to solve.

But business intelligence in most organizations ought to be thought of as a strategic opportunity and something that needs to be thought of broadly. That being said, I do think there are good reasons why you get started departmentally.

There may be a specific use case you have to solve, which is fine. But at the end you don’t want to be caught with just an architecture diagram as your BI strategy, and you certainly have to think about that holistically for your enterprise.

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Absolutely a picture of your BI architecture is not a strategy. Whether it's a architectural diagram or whether it's an organizational structure, pictures don’t tell the story. What really tells the story is interaction with the business users, understanding what the broader needs of the organization are and understanding that each project is a particular innovation, a particular subset of those needs and understanding how the value of one project can be enhanced enormously, if a lot of it is re-used in the next project. That’s true whether it’s the metadata, or skills, or best practices. BI has a perennial opportunity within most enterprises.

The other thing I always keep coming back to is the basics of business intelligence. What you can't measure, you can't manage. It's as simple as that. So one thing I am telling all of our customers is make sure that you have measures. If you don’t do a whole lot in terms of developing a BI strategy, do at least three basic things: get together with your business stakeholders and talk about, first of all, what’s the information you need. Do you have all the data you need to make decisions to be successful? That’s number one. The number two question is the frequency, the timeliness of the information. Do you get the information when you actually need it.

And the third one is, is the information you are getting, do you actually trust it? That’s a huge one, because as you know, more and more of the studies we see are about “do business executives trust the information they are getting from their IT organization.” By and large the answer is “no.” Often a majority of the respondents say “no, frankly I don’t have confidence.” So this is a really key thing for the metrics that you want to manage your corporate performance with.

Whether that’s being able to effectively demonstrate the providence of the data, where did we get it, how do we do the computations that went into these charts? While we can measure lots of data, how often do we respond in a timely way to a change in the data, an uptick in customer complaints, for instance, in order to improve customer satisfaction.

So to bottom-line it, get a BI strategy. Get a strategic plan. It is absolutely critical for that to actually make sense in order to understand the scope of what a BI strategy entails and what all you have to cover as you go ahead and develop your BI strategy.

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