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Driving Value Expand / Collapse
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Posted Tuesday, July 1, 2008 5:03 PM


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Post #526957
Posted Wednesday, July 2, 2008 2:38 AM


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I think one has to be careful about judging this.

There are a lot of extravagant claims touted by manufacturers of "Business Intelligence" tools (quotes are to allow for the wide range in quality or fitness for purpose in the products out there). Many companies will buy into these tools in an attempt to empower their decision makers and have data trends that aren't immediately apparent identified and then delivered to these people as potentially strategic information.

Of course, in the short term, assuming a company picks a tool that actually delivers what it claims, a competitive advantage will be gained, but very soon competitors will realise the tool's value and buy into it too with the net result that everyone has an application maintenance overhead with no competitive advantage to be gained. The best that can be said is that you'd lose by not having the tool. Simply, it's an arms race.

What will, however, provide a consistent competitive advantage is to get the data in front of a competent analyst - someone who's trained to understand data, play with it and disseminate profitably. And, of course, IT can provide the tools to make that person's job much more effective.

It's my belief that IT is not a strategic resource; it's part of a strategic answer. If a company forgets the human element, they're making just as big a mistake as forgetting the IT element.


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Post #527096
Posted Wednesday, July 2, 2008 3:33 AM
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Hmmm... I don't actually think a Business Intelligence solution has any value in and of itself, where the value exists, as you rightly say, is in the dissemination of information, the delivery mechanism is largely irrelevant. Therefore two companies can be using the same solution but it is the accuracy of the data that makes competitive advantage.

My own experience is that users are quite capable of building specs and even prototypes to view their own siloed data, but they don't understand how that data is related to other "silos" in the company. Relating this data to other information is both the most profitable exercise and the hardest one to sell, the main problem being that the easier it is to relate diverse information sources the easier it is to see just how inaccurate it is, making your "solution" in turn appear inaccurate, even if it's based on an already accepted version of the truth.

Post #527118
Posted Wednesday, July 2, 2008 6:53 AM


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I agree with both of you, and am about to spout something crazy - every part of the business affects every other part of the business.

I know! what a wacko!

If I develop a report with pristine, critical data that shows the weakest points in our company, and exactly what needs to be addressed, and hand it to the leadership who do exactly nothing with it, (or the wrong thing with it) then nothing is gained.

I like the distinction between utilitarian versus strategic IT, and I think that companies gain an edge through the savvy of their leadership, no matter whether they're the corner fruit stand or a global conglomerate. Fancy tools may make it easier to find the information (sometimes) but in the end it depends on all the parts of the organization working together to achieve a common goal (note - this does not include 'collect a paycheck'), under solid leadership to coordinate everyone's efforts.



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Post #527264
Posted Wednesday, July 2, 2008 11:17 PM
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If the business is IT intensive then there is no issue. IT is strategic. Consider Telcos, Insurance, and Banking to see this in action (Our ASB was run by the former IS/IT Manager) .

If you are involved in manufacturing then IT might be strategic. Supply chain and sales channels are two areas that come to mind. However, other factors may challenge this view. Increasingly we are finding that IT undergirds all of our business processes, therefore reconceptualising the business and supporting same through IT is strategic. Having a good view of the end-to-end line of business processes is important.

As mentioned by a previous post, teamwork is vital for ongoing strategy formation and implementation. Strategic planning is really way of life. Some do it others dream about it. Being in a small but fairly agile company helps a great deal. Larger enterprises are far more difficult to move and personal networks and influence play a large part in achieving anything of significance.
Post #527761
Posted Tuesday, April 9, 2013 2:57 AM


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I've never liked the term Business Intelligence mainly because I think it’s a reinvention of what all DBAs always knew. If you have to be instructed on why BI is important things are very badly wrong.

I don't like the term BI either an acronym so close to BS got to be bad.
Post #1440223
Posted Tuesday, April 9, 2013 10:11 AM


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The term "Business Intelligence" is not new by any means. It's been around since 1958.

"Technology is a weird thing. It brings you great gifts with one hand, and it stabs you in the back with the other. ..."
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Posted Wednesday, April 10, 2013 12:13 AM


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TravisDBA (4/9/2013)
The term "Business Intelligence" is not new by any means. It's been around since 1958.


From my perspective in accounting it's very interesting to contrast the discipline of BI with managerial accountancy.

It has a similar length of formal history and covers exactly the same scope. It could be an indication that accountantancy as a profession have dropped the ball.

It seems painful to see how little accountancy has developed since Luca Pacioli first published a guide to double entry bookeeping in 1494.

Seriously accountants should be all over the discipline of database administration but I don't see them.
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