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12/7/2007
11:06 AM
Doug Henschen
Doug Henschen
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Top-Ten Secrets of Successful BI Revealed

My first Christmas present arrived the other day: a copy of "Successful Business Intelligence: Secrets to Making BI a Killer App." Author Cindi Howson sent it to me in part as thanks for this site's help in getting more than 500 BI professionals to complete a 30-question survey that provided insight into the best practices detailed in the book. True to its name, it's a guidebook that will steer beginners and veterans alike toward success.



My first Christmas present arrived the other day: a copy of Successful Business Intelligence: Secrets to Making BI a Killer App. Author Cindi Howson sent it to me in part as thanks for Intelligent Enterprise's help in getting more than 500 BI professionals to complete a 30-question survey that provided insight into the best practices detailed in the book.

True to its name, Successful Business Intelligence: Secrets to Making BI a Killer App is a 244-page guidebook that will help beginners get off on the right foot while guiding veterans toward more successful approaches. The book is geared, as Cindi explains, to "businesspeople who feel their organizations are not making the most optimal decisions," as well as to executive sponsors, BI program/project managers and technical experts who design and implement aspects of the BI solution.Cindi puts the focus on business results right up front in Chapter 1, in which she explains how BI delivers value and improves performance. She also introduces the case examples of Flight Stats, Corporate Express, Dow Chemical, Norway Post, 1 800-CONTACTS, Continental Airlines and Emergency Medical Associates, seven successful BI practitioners from which she draws proven best practices and instructive anecdotes throughout the book.

You'll find everything from the basics - with chapters on BI tools and components, data quality and BI department/competency center organization - to more advanced advice - such as advice on ensuring relevant insight, adopting agile development approaches and picking the right tool.

What I like most about this book is that it's all written in Cindi's engaging, no-techno-babble prose, and she ends each topical chapter with helpful "Best Practices for Successful Business Intelligence," drawn from her research and the experience of successful practitioners.

In the spirit of the season, I'll share an abbreviated version of Cindi's Top-Ten Secrets to Successful BI:

1. Measure success in multiple ways… 2. Understand the effect of Luck, Opportunity, Frustration and Threat… 3. Garner executive support… 4. Start with a solid data foundation… 5. Align the BI strategy with the goals of the business… 6. Find the relevance of BI for every worker… 7. Use agile development practices… 8. Organize BI teams and experts for success… 9. Choose appropriate BI tools… 10. Foster fact-based decision making, present data visually and promote BI successes…

With a weekend of reading, you'll learn how to put all ten secrets into practice.My first Christmas present arrived the other day: a copy of "Successful Business Intelligence: Secrets to Making BI a Killer App." Author Cindi Howson sent it to me in part as thanks for this site's help in getting more than 500 BI professionals to complete a 30-question survey that provided insight into the best practices detailed in the book. True to its name, it's a guidebook that will steer beginners and veterans alike toward success.

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