BI Saas Vendors Are Not Created Equal

Boris Evelson By Boris Evelson

As many of my readers know, for years I’ve been quite skeptical about non-mainstream BI solutions, such as BI SaaS. Security, control, operational risk, data, metadata and application integration are just some of the requirements for enterprise BI that are still on my watch list as potential reasons to be weary about BI SaaS. However, I am also a very pragmatic analyst and truly believe that nothing but supply and demand drive the markets.  And I am now, slowly but surely, beginning to believe there couldn’t be a better case for demand for BI SaaS especially after findings from one of the project that I am currently conducting.

I recently talked to a few dozen non-IT professionals (specifically in front office roles, such as sales and marketing) across multiple industries, regions and company sizes. Guess how many of them fully or partially relied on IT for their day to day operational and strategic information needs? BIG FAT ZERO!!! This finding was a huge surprise to me – yes, I did expect to find something like less then 50% reliance on IT, but I surely did not expect to find 0%.

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Head Of BI Job Description

Boris Evelson By Boris Evelson

I get many requests from Forrester clients to describe job requirements for a head of BI team, department, solutions center, etc. While Forrester does not have a formal description of such requirements, if I map such requirements to all BI best practices that I write about, here’s what I come up with:

  • Champion and rally the organization around BI. Educate senior non-IT executives on the value of BI: without measurement, there’s no management. Be able to argue that business, not IT, should own BI.
  • Build and support BI business cases (BI ROI)
  • Understand Key Performance Measures and Indicators that drive company measurement, reporting and analytics across functions like
    • Sales  
    • Marketing  
    • Customer Service  
    • Finance  
    • Operations/Logistics  
    • HR  
    • IT/Systems  
    • Compliance and Risk Management  
  • Understand how these metrics and measures align and track against overall business strategies, goals and objectives.
  • Be proficient in all aspects of BI and Information Management processes, technologies and architectures such as
    • BI delivery mechanisms: portals, thin/thick clients, email/mobile phone alerts, etc  
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