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November 28, 2008

There’s Something Wrong with Business Intelligence

Filed under: Data Integration, Data Migration, Data Quality, ETL — Alena Semeshko @ 7:13 am

Gartner’s recent statement about companies misinterpreting the concept of business intelligence is all over the news. No wonder, companies need to be confronted with this common fallacy of thinking that BI is just about technology.

Phillip Britt from DestinationCRM in his recent article chews out Gartners point and suggests nine ways (corresponding to Gartner’s nine “fatal flaws”) to consider in adjusting your approach to business intelligence.

The first thing to realize here is that developing a “BI initiative from a data-centric perspective won’t work unless there is involvement from the business side from the beginning.”

He goes on criticizing the spreadsheet culture and the way companies underestimate the importance of sharing data across enterprise.

Then, oh, my favorite one: data quality.

“Data quality issues are almost ubiquitous and the impact on BI is significant — people won’t use BI applications that are founded on irrelevant, incomplete, or questionable data.”


The other fundamental problems with the way companies approach BI include “one-stop shopping” approach, “stability” (BI goals should be reevaluated and the action plan should be adjusted accordingly from year to year, actually), outsourcing BI (cost-cutting is not the primary goal of your BI practice), lack of collaboration across enterprise (no agreement on a “single truth” to aim for across different departments), etc.

Finally, the biggest flaw - “lack of a documented BI strategy.” This one actually holds true for each and every part of the overall enterprise strategy, it holds true for data integraion, data quality, data migration, ETL, literally EVERYTHING in the related field.

Gartner’s Bill Hostmann even “recommends creating a team tasked with writing or revising a BI strategy document, with members drawn from both the technology and the business sides.”

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