As you go about your daily job of supporting or providing business intelligence, especially in these days of intensified interest in data-driven decision-making, you must always remember the basics: "What are you trying to do with the time and energy you spend your days around?"
That's the advice and the question with which Bill Hostmann, vice president and distinguished analyst at Gartner Inc., opened the Gartner Business Intelligence Summit 2012 yesterday. The conference, which will run through tomorrow in Los Angeles, is in its 10th year -- and going strong. Attendance is up 30 percent from 2011, with approximately 1,000 user organizations at the event, Gartner reported.
The draw, at least in part, is the heightened interest in (and spending on) BI from the top executive on down through the business. That's great news overall, but it means IT and BI professionals must be at the top of their game. There's no rest for the inundated, as the saying sort of goes.
The analytics cycle is circular -- from information to analysis, from analysis to information, and on and on. With each turn comes more insight and better answers for the decision-makers. So don't think you're done once you've wrapped up an analytics project, Hostmann said. Always question your relevancy and the relevancy of the information you're delivering.
During his keynote, he stressed the need for attendees to ask themselves three questions continuously: Am I relevant? Do I have the right resources? Where do we go from here, or how do we keep the information relevant for decision-making?
"Challenge your thinking," he exhorted. "This is a value chain, from information to analysis to better decisions. So how do you measure your success? Do other people agree that you're relevant? Have you defined your measure of success, and does everyone agree with you?"
Of course, new forces are complicating the scene. The most obvious one is the increasing need to include external, nontraditional sources -- big data -- in the analytics mix. The information environment is volatile right now, and decision-making is changing dramatically. This means the analytics themselves are getting more diverse and have to be integrated. IT professionals must understand these changes and the role they need to play in determining how to enable this future, Hostmann said.
They can't do it alone. "This is a team sport."
Smart IT professionals will understand what resources are required of their BI initiatives. They'll ask themselves questions such as:
- Who's going to set the scope and scale?
- Who's going to define the economics?
- Who's going to set the priorities?
- Who's going to invest in the requisite skills and competencies?
Hostmann said these professionals will get the right folks at the table to develop and implement a strong BI framework. "You don't need to have a global team to be successful. Just two people with a common blueprint and future state can be incredibly powerful team to lead change."
Having the right framework in place is the hallmark of successful organizations using information and analysis to drive the business, he said.
Do you have a strong BI framework in place, and are you prepared to test your relevancy and renovate your analytics as necessary? Share your strategy on the message board below.