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Five Mistakes of Business Intelligence

By: Jeff Block, Capstone Consulting
Posted: April 10, 2009

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In many organizations, the default for data ownership is the IT group. If you want to realize the full potential of BI in your organization, this just won’t work. Think of a plumbing analogy. Data is like water. IT infrastructure is the plumbing—faucets, pipes, water heaters, etc. It’s IT’s job to maintain the infrastructure, not the data—the pipes, not the water. And don’t let a single business unit own data warehouse data either. The whole goal of BI is to produce cross-functional reporting capabilities. That means that the whole business has to own the data, typically managed through representative governance in the form of a governing council (also another topic for another time).

There’s no question that executing a successful BI initiative is hard. It’s also expensive. But the benefits of BI (when done right) dramatically outweigh the cost. Don’t let the complexity and the special skills required scare you off. But don’t bite off more than you can chew either. You can do it. It will be worth it. Just make sure you’re properly prepared and have the right experts on hand to help.

Jeff Block is principal consultant for Capstone Consulting, which provides enterprise solutions to help clients maximize IT investments and drive greater business value. He also organizes monthly BI roundtables through the Illinois IT Association in Chicago.