BI is so Boring

Susan AndreArticles, News

Ever passed through Boring, Dull or Bland? You will be excused if terms like boring, dull and bland remind you of experiences related to Business Intelligence maintenance.


Read about Boring (Oregon USA), Dull  (Highlands of Scotland) and Bland (Australia)

Once the novelty of shiny new software wears off and the realization sets in that the same old mistakes have been made as several times before, just at a more rapid rate; one can use this lesson as an opportunity to reduce the drudge and dreary of BI projects. Albeit boring, by introducing overall order throughout the information collection and presentation process, the net result will be inner data order for the business community.

In the mood for a big bite of Business Intelligence?

First arrest the attention of the Business Users by engaging various teams and players for setting the right mood, followed by delivering quick successions of bite sized chunks of meaningful information treats.  Tip: do not bite off more than can be chewed!

Speak to various Business Intelligence practitioners and you will hear contrasting views. For instance the mood of the new proponents of “free for all analytics” are generally far more positive than those traditionalists who followed the upfront information needs analysis. The latter approach is hard work and besides – just determining the user’s information needs does not necessarily result in 100% successful BI solutions. Several more challenging steps need to be completed to increase the success rate. Sourcing, cleaning, integrating, storing and distributing information is a specialized mission.

The BI mood directly correlates to bathetic business conditions. Veteran BI specialists are cautious about the resurgence of familiar historical pain points such as: empty promises made by ill-informed software vendors touting unrealistic delivery times due to super magical new software; IT building BI solutions without understanding business issues; business units developing the own silo’ed BI solutions; disjointed and unintegrated attempts of building data warehouses.

On the other hand a distinctive can-do attitude shines through from the novice BI team members. While their unbridled optimism for the unexplored BI territory and software solutions do show potential, in typical IT style, new methods and software bundles are described as some form of dramatic Analytical world changing panacea. 

These enthusiastic claims should be divided by ten for gaging realistic outcomes.

Business Units must consider the turbulent environment of information management with specific focus on Analytics, before outright dismissing the role of Information Specialist and supporting IT departments. Remember the role of Information Services: to shield business information users from the blustery realities of the IT world.

Urban legends, hoaxes and folklore

For the business community folks: Rather than treating the information pool and / or Data Warehouse just as if investigating urban legends, hoaxes and folklore, instead let it manifest into a self-proclaimed definitive fact-checking resource. For the IT folks: Use your Data Warehouse as the arbiter of truth and lessen nasty surprises; resist engaging in too rigorous censorship of information; avoid promoting each and every industry talking point.  

A BI Fitness Analysis or BIFA (impress the BI team with YAA  – “yet another acronym”)  may be called for in order to extend the lifespan of an existing Data Warehouse and Business Intelligence platform. The outcome BIFR (Business Intelligence Fitness Report) should provide guidelines for navigating through challenging BI routes that might seem dull and boring because it is misdirected.

Data Warehousing, Business Intelligence and Analytics need never be Boring, Dull or Bland!

Written by Susan Andrè

Alicornio Africa offers courses on how to complement and extend the lifespan of the existing Data Warehouse by positioning the role of the Data Lake.  Guidelines for crafting a BI Information Strategy are provided.  It gives a comprehensive overview of all aspects pertaining to BI / DW, covers all the related areas and is technology independent.

Concepts, Design and Modelling for Extended Data Warehousing   teaches sound principles to be applied no matter what technology is used. Register HERE