Ten Strong Hints Your Enterprise May Not Have A BI Strategy

Boris Evelson By Boris Evelson

You know that you don't have an enterprise BI strategy if:

 

Want more hints and best practices? Take our BI maturity self assessment test. Then if you actually want to compare your BI strategy and BI maturity against other Forrester clients, take our BI maturity survey. Good luck!

  1. Your end users keep pointing to IT as the source of most BI problems

  2. Your business executives view BI as another cost center
  3. IT staff keep asking end users for report requirements
  4. Your BI is supported by IT help desk
  5. You can’t tell the difference between BI and Performance Management
  6. You can’t measure your BI usage
  7. You can’t measure your BI ROI
  8. You think your BI strategy is the same as your DW strategy
  9. You don’t have a plan to develop, hire, retain and grow BI staff
  10. (My personal favorite) You actually don’t know if your enterprise has a BI strategy!

    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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    Open letter to Information Week BI In Healthcare article readers

    Boris Evelson By Boris Evelson

    I am so glad that my Information Week article BI in Healthcare is receiving interest and mostly positive feedback. I believe that this is indeed a very important topic to write about, especially considering how behind the times the industry is, and what a unique opportunity we have right now to get it right. We so strongly believe that this is such a critical IT issue and challenge, that Forrester is even bending its own rules slightly – typically all our research is “role” based, not industry based, as we most often find that challenges and requirements by role are almost always very similar across industries. Healthcare and public sectors seem to be a big exception, and therefore, I and some of my colleagues do plan to publish more Healthcare IT specific research. For example, I am currently in the middle of surveying top 30+ BI vendors specializing in Healthcare against 40+ criteria. Stay tuned to the results of this research. And my colleague, Craig LeClair (http://www.forrester.com/rb/search/results.jsp?N=0+11226), is in the midst of conducting research on EMR best practices.

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    SAP and TIBCO? Too Juicy Of A BI Rumor Not To Comment On

    Boris Evelson By Boris Evelson

    I typically don’t like to comment on rumors, but this one is too juicy (from the BI point of view) to pass by. Even though TIBCO’s business is primarily in application and process integration, enterprise service bus, middleware, messaging, etc., Business Intelligence implications of the rumored SAP/TIBCO merger are huge! By acquiring TIBCO SAP will get:

     

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    The next wave of BI acquisitions?

    Boris Evelson By Boris Evelson

    Whoever says that Business Intelligence (BI) market is commoditizing is smoking something funny. From where we sit, it remains active, vibrant and full of opportunities both on the buyer and the seller side. On the buyer side the market is far from mature with multiple architecture, implementation, governance and organizational challenges. On the seller side we track over 20 “next generation” BI features that vendors are just beginning to address.

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    Information Post-Discovery - Latest BI Trend

    Boris-Evelson By Boris Evelson

    I just came back from an exciting week in Orlando, FL, shuttling between SAP SAPPHIRE and IBM Cognos Forum conferences. Thank you, my friends at SAP and IBM for putting the two conferences right next to each other (time- and location-wise), and for saving me an extra trip!

    Both conferences showed new and exciting products and both vendors are making great progress towards my vision of “next generation BI”: automated, pervasive, unified and limitless.  I track about 20 different trends under these four categories, but there’s a particular one that is especially catching my attention these days. It went largely under covers at both conferences, and I was struggling with how to verbalize it, until my good friend and peer, Mark Albala, of http://www.info-sight-partners.com, put it in excellent terms for me in an email earlier today: it’s all about “pre-discovery” vs. “post-discovery” of data.

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    Free BI Is Still No Free Lunch

    Boris-Evelson By Boris Evelson

    In my recent BI Belt Tightening For Tough Economic Times document I explored a few low-cost alternatives to traditional, mainstream, and typically relatively expensive Business Intelligence (BI) tools. While some of these alternatives indeed were a fraction of a cost of a characteristic large enterprise BI software license, there were even fewer truly zero cost options. But there were some. For example, you can:

    • Leverage and use no-cost bundled BI software already in-house.Small departments and workgroups may be able to leverage BI software that comes bundled at no additional cost with BI appliances, database management systems (DBMSes), and application licenses. You can consider using these few free licenses from Actuate, IBM Cognos, Information Builders, Jaspersoft, Microsoft, MicroStrategy, Panorama, Pentaho, and SAP Business Objects for additional functions such as testing, QA, and prototyping. While these few free licenses are just a drop in the bucket in a typical large enterprise BI license requirements, do look around and don’t waste money on BI products you may already have.
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    Healthcare Industry BI Groundhog Day

    Boris Evelson By Boris Evelson

    I am writing this blog on my way back home from www.himss.org show in Chicago, while a tingly chill crawls down my back. It’s a creepy feeling of déjà vu. Even worse, it feels like the movie Groundhog Day where the main character keeps waking up on the same day, same date, never able to get to tomorrow. Everything he was able to achieve during the day is erased, and he has to do it over, and over, and over again. This was the feeling I got as I walked the show floor and kept asking myself questions such as:

    • Where are the open technology standards?
    • Where is the transparency?
    • Where is the common sense that business requirements, not vendors, dictate the rules?
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    Are There BI Implications In The Rumored IBM/Sun Merger? You Betcha!

    Boris-Evelson By Boris Evelson

    I always predicted that Open Source BI has to reach critical mass before it becomes a viable alternative for large enterprise BI platforms. All the individual components (a mixture of Open Source BI projects and commercial vendor wrappers around them) are slowly but surely catching up to their bigger closed source BI brothers. Talend and Kettle (a Pentaho led project) offer data integration components like ETL, Mondrian and Palo (SourceForge projects) have OLAP servers, BIRT (an Eclipse project), Actuate, Jaspersoft and Pentaho have impressive reporting components, Infobright innovates with columnar dbms well suited for BI, and productized offerings from consulting companies like European based Engineering Ingegneria Informatica – SpagoBI – offer some Open Source BI component integration.

    However, even large closed source BI vendors that acquired multiple BI components over the years still struggle with full, seamless component integration. So what chance do Open Source BI projects and vendors with independent leadership structure and often varying priorities have for integrating highly critical BI components such as metadata, data access layers, GUI, common prompting/sorting/ranking/filtering approaches, drill-throughs from one product to another, etc? Today, close to none. However, a potential consolidation of such products and technologies under one roof can indeed create a highly needed critical mass and give these individual components a chance to grow into large enterprise quality BI solutions.

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