What To Do When A CIO Pushes Back On Your Agile BI Platform?

CIO pushback is part of a typical growing pain of all business intelligence (BI) startups. It means your land and expand strategy is working. Once you start expanding beyond a single department CIOs will notice. As a general rule, the earlier the CIO is brought on board, the better. CIOs who feel left out are likely to raise more objections than those who are involved in the early stages. A number of BI vendors that started out with a strategy of purposely avoiding the CIO found over time that they had to change their strategies - ultimately, there’s no way round the CIO. Forrester has also noticed that the more a vendor gets the reputation of “going round” the CIO, the greater the resistance is from CIOs once they do get involved. 
There is of course also the situation where the business side doesn’t want the CIO involved, sometimes for very good reason. That notwithstanding, if there’s a dependency on the CIO when it comes to sign-off, Forrester would strongly recommend encouraging the business to bring him/her to the table. 
The two key aspects to bear in mind in this context are:
  • CIOs look for transparency. Have architecture diagrams to hand out, be prepared to explain your solution in as much technical detail as required, and have answers ready regarding the enterprise IT capabilities listed below.  
  • Find out what’s keeping the CIO awake at night, and outline how your solution can help the CIO achieve his/her goals. A lot of CIOs struggle with delivering capabilities “at the speed of business”. Your solution can help them do that, but you’ll need to be proactive in delivering this message. 
Next, your platform needs to have capabilities that prove to the CIO that you can become part of the integrated enterprise BI ecosystem. If the following capabilities are not already part of your platform, Forrester strongly recommends putting them on your short term roadmap (in order of priority):
  1. Integrate with enterprise SSO (single sign on) platforms
  2. Offer robust BI on BI capabilities capabilities for enterprise IT to monitor how/who/when is using your application and take corrective action. For example
    • If there are multiple end user generated redundant overlapping apps, consolidate them
    • If there are end user generated apps that are using non enterprise standard data sources, offer to point these apps to the enterprise standard data sources
    • If similar apps already exist in other enterprise BI platforms, offer user a choice to switch
  3. Integrate (via partnerships and certified integration) with enterprise grade ETL, Data Quality and MDM platforms
  4. Open up your semantic/metadata layer for bidirectional updates (import/export at the very minimum)
  5. Open up APIs for application integration and customization
  6. Open your application generated data model (metrics, KPIs, attributes, etc) so that other enterprise BI platforms can access it
  7. Address enterprise data security concerns by offering a hybrid cloud/on premise (BI platform in the cloud, some data in the cloud, but also some data on premise) architecture 


Some discussion for your

Some discussion for your business secion will provide some of the common lessons for your leadership process. Continous improvement to require some sponsorship for your senior team. Think about the organizational barrier to set up the standard business report. Ensure your givernance for prioritize investment

BI on BI

Boris, thanks for these insights. Another critical benefit of BI on BI is sorting data across platforms based on usage. For example, one can identify unused data that consumes premium space in a data warehouse. Offloading such data to Hadoop or the Cloud can help the CIO realize significant cost savings.

After reading this blog, I

After reading this blog, I hope our team already is doing most of these things.

While we mostly serve smaller than enterprise customers, all of these points still seem valid in our vertical. If we just took out the word “enterprise” in a few places in the blog, it definitely would seem to fit.

Of course, many of the customers we serve are companies too small to have CIO as a separate position. Most of these companies have anyone at the C-level doing essentially multiple job functions. But somebody is likely to push back at some point, and that’s where this advice you share is valuable.

Post new comment

If you have an account on Forrester.com, please login.

Or complete the information below to post a comment.

(Your name will appear next to your comment.)
(We will not display your email.)
Type the characters you see in this picture. (verify using audio)
Type the characters you see in the picture above; if you can't read them, submit the form and a new image will be generated. Not case sensitive.