Business Intelligence... still no pixie dust

The BI Problem

Let me start by telling you a lie.

If you buy the market leading Business Intelligence tool, you’ll be able to analyze all your data. Everybody will be able to get the data they need, when they need it. When you look at a customer it will show a 360° view of your customer, and you’ll be able to drill down to see detailed reports and dashboards. You don’t have to take my word for it, you can see it happening right in front of you in a demo. Just send a sample of your data, or they’ll use their databases to show it to you.

Why is this a lie? All of those claims certainly could be demonstrated at customer sites. So where’s the lie?  Well let me rephrase the pitch, but instead, I’ll do a parody pitch for what’s in this picture.

If you buy these market leading decorations, then you’ll be able to get all the relaxation Outdoor Furniture2you’ll need when you need it. You can enjoy a well-lit ambiance both day and night. You’ll enjoy the benefits of running water on demand. And during stormy days you can know that you’ll stay comfortable and dry. On hot or cold days, you can rest assured that you’ll stay a comfortable 73 degrees all year long.

Sure, that statement could be true. But as you can see, these decorations & furnishings are OUTSIDE! There is no roof, plumbing, or electricity. This is obvious to you, because you can see the whole picture.

And this is exactly what we practitioners see every day with new BI purchases… Grand aspirations from newly vested BI customers, followed by massive disappointment, when they realize that what was purchased was mostly decoration or “visualization”. The real hard work of solving the data problems is usually an asterisk during a BI demo, which business stakeholders rarely delve into while they watch.

Now, I know this comparison is a little cheesy, but I make it for good reason. If you compare the process of building your information backbone to building a house, then data integration and data management would represent the foundation, framing, plumbing, electrical, AC, and roofing. The BI would be the interior design and furnishings. When people come to your home you rarely get compliments on how good your plumbing is. But if its missing, you’re elaborate decorations would come coupled with a smelly motif.

Business Stakeholders however, are often unaware of this, and they end up building décor (Business Intelligence deployments) before the foundation of the house is even in place.

Whitepaper tease BI 3