Gartner Cites Five Reasons for 'BI'g Discrepancy - InformationWeek

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3/9/2009
11:52 AM
Doug Henschen
Doug Henschen
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Gartner Cites Five Reasons for 'BI'g Discrepancy

I'm here at the Gartner Business Intelligence Summit in Washington D.C. this week, and opening keynoters John Van Decker and Kurt Schlegel kicked things off talking about the "BI"g discrepancy. The gap is between expectations for (and investments in) BI and the value that the technology is actually delivering to business users.

I'm here at the Gartner Business Intelligence Summit in Washington D.C. this week, and opening keynoters John Van Decker and Kurt Schlegel kicked things off talking about the "BI"g discrepancy. That gap is between expectations for and investments in BI and the value that the technology is actually delivering to business users. The talk closely paralleled my Q&A interview with analyst Donald Feinberg, but Van Decker and Schlegel did break fresh ground in laying out these five reasons for the discrepancy:

No IT-Business Partnership - "We have to get away from thinking of it as a vendor-customer relationship," said Schlegel.

No Link to Corporate Strategy - BI team have to listen to the executives and develop metrics and measures that are aligned with their goals.

No connection to the Process - "BI has been overtly disconnected for too long," Schlegel proclaimed. It's not enough to deliver the right information to the right users. You have to insert those insights into the processes and interfaces that business users live in every day."

No Governance or Too Much - It has to be just the right amount of governance. BI grew up departmentally, so it's all too common to have many silos of BI. At the other extreme, some companies are so uptight about data standards that companies can't get their data into the warehouse.

No Skills - Business users often lack skills, chimed in Van Decker, citing the one area where the business side was said to be falling short. "Most companies have very sophisticated capabilities available that folks just aren't taking advantage of," he said, pointing to corporate performance management (CPM) software as a leading example.

The danger in these kinds of presentations is that you come off sounding like you're preaching about God, Motherhood and Apple pie. To their credit, Van Decker and Schlegel didn't just fall back on old cliches and bromides. For example, talking about the information-delivery spectrum from static reports to ad-hoc query/OLAP to data extracts and spreadmarts, Schlegel observed that IT has been too uptight about attempting to stamp out individual freedom to explore data. But rather than giving way to the silos and chaos of extracts and spreadmarts, Schlegel suggested developing more interactive next-generation upgrades of structured reports so users can explore and drill down on the data. He also touted building "data discovery environments" (perhaps a veiled pitch for in-memory analysis) that give users "personal data sandboxes" in which they can explore and discover.

"After all," Schlegel concluded, "Webster's first definition of 'Intelligence' is the ability to learn and understand."I'm here at the Gartner Business Intelligence Summit in Washington D.C. this week, and opening keynoters John Van Decker and Kurt Schlegel kicked things off talking about the "BI"g discrepancy. The gap is between expectations for (and investments in) BI and the value that the technology is actually delivering to business users.

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