BI is the same, not different

BI people – and I am one of them! – tend to see the world differently, sometimes very differently from the rest of the IT-world. For long, BI was a neglected area of IT, often seen as byproduct of custom systems development (oops, forgotten, we also need some management reports). First triggered by huge advances in technology and more recently by Davenport’s seminal article ‘Competing on analytics’ in HBR, BI got a business face and a new, much more appealing connotation: the underpinnings were there to view BI as a whole new area of business with programme managers, architects and consultants lobbying for dedicated attention, trying to convince the CEO the company needs to follow an analytics strategy (instead of…?) and transform the organization. As a result, a whole new ecosystem within the IT-world has evolved, with its own vocabulary and the urge to create its own methods, tools etc. For BI people, BI is a whole different ball-game than traditional IT (or transactional IT, or operational IT or….).

I’m increasingly confused and less convinced that this distinct view of the world is justifiable. True, technological developments have created opportunities that didn’t exist before. We’re now able to store tons of data, apply advanced analytics and use the results in operational processess on a real-time, transactional scale. But does this change the way we formulate an IT-strategy, develop solutions, run IT-operations, govern developments? More and more, I tend to answer no, instead of yes. Sure, some things are different but only to a certain extent. It certainly does not justifies a whole separate approach. Why come up with a proprietary architecture / requirements / development method when there are industry standards available? No doubt common standards will lack some specifics that are required for BI-initiatives but isn’t it more effective to provide some kind of add-on to a common standard instead of developing one’s own? Data Vault project management? I don’t know…

More and more, I tend to take a common standard or method as a start, as I’m doing in my current assignment which deals with enterprise architecture, instead of staying with my “BI is unique and the rest of the world should change”-paradigm and trying to convince any other they should adhere to it. In a short time, it has offered me with many valuable insights and allowed to me better (!) govern and architect BI instead of less. It seems to me that this proprietary approach to BI rather impedes success and performance impact than boosts it.

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Posted in BI industry, Our profession
One comment on “BI is the same, not different
  1. […] they are two completely different things. So, in a sense this post is a sequel to the “BI is the same, not different” post. My mind is exploding with ideas and insights I want to share with you, so the next […]

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