Why Business Intelligence Still Remains Relevant
Every day on LinkedIn, every day on company blogs, every day on analyst websites, every day industry experts, bang on about Artificial Intelligence (AI), Machine Leaning (ML), the Internet of Things (IoT) etc. No doubt these areas are important, for limited use cases, mainly down to maturity. However, there lies an underlying problem that no one seems to be addressing: the lack of integrated insights across most, if not all enterprises, and what is often termed as “Enterprise Wide Business Intelligence (BI)”.
It seems to me that the bright lights of Silicon Valley, and the analyst firms who by their very nature, must think ahead to remain relevant within the narrative, are cajoling everyone into moving too quick to innovate here, digitise there, and machine learn everything within the artificial world! Ha! That’s how it reads to me, and with the speed we are going how can firms even keep up with all of this.
What we all need to do is take a deep breath, look internally and ask ourselves are we really integrating the data in our companies so that we are being more efficient, and know what is happening now? Is the CEO looking at ten different reports across the business, instead of an integrated one or nothing at all? Is everyone using data across the business to make a profound positive impact on the bottom line?
What’s the point of knowing the future, if I don’t know the here and now?
5 underlying problems:
- Organisations today, still struggle with getting their data from the silos that they are in due to legacy systems, spreadsheets, manual processes (yes those still occur) etc.
- Data quality is generally a massive issue, as data governance is normally the last thing companies invest in. To build a foundation for AI, ML, IoT your data needs to be clean and wholesome. Bad data will mean the wrong outputs from algorithms, which will mean bad business decisions being taken, which will mean a profound negative impact on the bottom line!
- Stop listening to vendors who say you can deploy their tools into your business in 15 minutes! This isn’t true! There will always be complexities behind implementing a BI platform. This could be down to accessing data from legacy systems, integration of data due to interfaces not being available, KPIs haven’t been thought through and hoping that technology will just do the job. It’s wrong and must stop. Organisations by their very nature are complex and we must think about data integration, the staging of data, the cleansing of it, the visual representation of it. Don’t be led down a garden path.
- That brings me to my next point. Consolidate, consolidate, consolidate. A lot of companies, have let departments off the leash and buy their own BI tools, due to the “myth” of self-service. Therefore, controls have been decentralised, and to my earlier point governance has been left in the cupboard with the unwanted birthday gifts. We are burying our heads in the sand if we don’t address this issue. I need to do something with those unwanted gifts too!
- Promoting an enterprise wide view for BI within your company will allow you to understand how to become a truly “data-driven-BI-analytics” company (did you see what I did there?). Once your people across your organisation start using BI, the more insights you will uncover, your people will become more agile (and curious) in their very nature, and the different conversations that will occur, will profoundly positively impact your bottom line. The narrative will change, and you will be able to then truly harness the futuristic elements that await you in Utopia.
As one of my favourite rap bands once rapped “Don’t believe the hype”, get your house in order and once you have, you will then be able to enjoy the fruits of AI, ML, IoT. Without it, you will be stuck down the bayou without a paddle.