Inside organizations today there is an extremely valuable asset that is locked away and unrealized for its full potential. I’m talking about data. Gigabytes upon gigabytes and on to terabytes and petabytes…you get the idea…there’s a lot of data out there. This data is trapped inside silo corporate systems, Excel spreadsheets, various standalone reports and scattered across file servers within organizations. The unfortunate thing with this mess of data is that there is a dual cost you are experiencing:
- you pay to store all this information; spinning disk within servers is not free. As databases grow and spreadsheets proliferate throughout the organization, you are paying for that storage
- there is an opportunity to cost for not having used any of this data effectively. You are paying to save it (see point one above) but then losing out on not using it!
We are in a business climate these days where you can’t really afford not to try to leverage this data. It can drive better business decisions. This data is your competitive advantage; nobody else has it so don’t squander the opportunity to unlock its potential value.
To me, having been in strategic consulting for years and years I have always known and seen in my client work that when you have the correct inputs for your business then you realize greater success. When I assist organizations with their IT strategy, that strategy is always crafted with an underlying understanding: help the business get to where it wants to go. The IT within an organization must be an enabler.
The same is true for business intelligence efforts inside organizations. The data locked in so many systems and massaged & manipulated in so many Excel worksheets is there to enable the business reach its strategic objectives. Like IT resources though, that data needs to be strategically used. In setting an IT strategy, we start with a “vision”, in setting a business intelligence strategy, we start with questions. Key questions you need answered in order to make good strategic decisions. Don’t start with the technology alone; systems and software don’t unlock data value – they are a means to an end, not the end itself. I’ve seen too many initiatives where business intelligence work is being done for the sake of business intelligence. The true value is rarely realized through that approach and it becomes a missed opportunity in driving better business decision-making.
Start with a strategy that is led by the business, then move on to the technical implementation. Now that sounds intelligent to me!