A common thought arises when planning a business intelligence strategy. “Who should lead the project? IT or business?”
In the ever changing world of analytics where data is doubling over two years, an IT professional would be important as they’ll know the fundamentals around data and systems in a given company. Whereas, when compared with high BI failure rates over the last 20 years, an executive who knows how, why and where a business intelligence strategy will be successful it is now essential. So in answer to the originally posed question… both.
It is a view that Jeff Roberts (@jeffjohnroberts) agrees with. He said recently in a GigaOM post “The better approach is to treat data in a more agile manner, and create teams that consist of both an IT person and a business executive. Together they can scan the data for opportunities that will yield a quick and concrete success.”
There are many reasons for this assessment. First of all, business users are not BI experts. They know what they want and without the assistance of an IT professional when developing a business intelligence strategy, the chances of the fulfilling it are slim to none in most cases.
Vice-versa, the IT professional will be able to create a fully functional business intelligence strategy and tool, but if it is not what the business user desires, they will look elsewhere to get what they want, and that will likely be in an excel spreadsheet with the high risk of expensive errors.
When IT and business users work together on a business intelligence strategy, they enable the understanding of the required goals and outcomes of their project. As Ryan Lee Cox (@ryanleecox) puts it in this article “Ensure that your data scientists do not work in isolation and that they interface and work very closely with the business owner and the product managers. Data scientists need to understand the business drivers, business critical issues, and the enterprise and product strategy.”
This is true throughout the planning, execution and delivery of a business intelligence strategy. They should work together continuously to report and reflect on how to improve. If IT delivers exactly what a business executive has asked for, they’ll have no option other than to love and embrace it.
Mellisa Tolentino (@asillem13) suggests here that those business executives should be some of the most senior of the company. “IT should be able to communicate and get feedback from all the executives in the company – VP of sales, support, engineering, etc. It opens up a way for teams to better collaborate and keeps leaders in the loop.”
All in all, when developing a business intelligence strategy, we recommend that IT and business should collaborate. By doing this, it ensures that a fully functional and useful BI tool will be the end product that executives across the business will be fully engaged with to deliver actionable insights.
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