Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Getting Smart About BI: Best Practices Deliver Real Value

In 2006, BusinessWeek Research Services (BWRS) conducted a study to discover and analyze the implementation practices of companies that utilize business intelligence (BI) and other analytics systems. Additionally, they looked to answer if BI helped these companies achieve their business value goals. This results of this study allowed BWRS to compile a list of five Best Practices for BI.

BWRS conducted an online survey of senior executives and managers at large companies who are members of BWRS' Market Advisory Board, as well as North American subscribers to BusinessWeek Magazine and/or the BusinessWeek Web site; BWRS received 359 survey respondents. In addition to the online survey, researchers conducted in-depth telephonic interviews with 10 senior officials at large and mid-size companies known to be using BI and analytics. Finally, BWRS analyzed results of prior BWRS surveys about BI and general business trends and applied those results to the current study.

The results of this study indicate that there are five best practices in business that result in achieving value from BI.
  1. Business information governance programs--programs that govern standards and corporate requirements for data management.
  2. Enterprise information strategy--a corporate-level strategy to organize, structure and leverage information assets.
  3. Information quality programs--formal procedures to identify, fix and prevent data quality problems such as inaccuracy and incompleteness. Most BI experts say data quality is the umber one prerequisite for delivering BI business value. This is especially true at large companies because they are prone to decentralized systems.
  4. Enterprise data warehouse--central repositories of enterprise data for reporting and analytical purposes. These warehouses prevent inaccuracy and are less expensive to maintain than a series of smaller repositories throughout an organization.
  5. BI competency centers--a core team dedicated to managing BI within their organization/business.
There is a clear correlation between achieving business value and implementing these five data management techniques. The survey found that the companies that achieve or exceed their expected business value were much more likely to have adopted these techniques. However, using these techniques alone will not result in achieving value from BI. The study offers examples such as executive sponsorship, business and IT alignment, and encouraging the adoption of BI tools as techniques to use in addition to the five Best Practices to achieve the full value of BI.

1 comment:

  1. After looking at source, I noticed there were only 359 responses out of a possible 18,000. That seems like a really low number for the claim made in the paper that these are the five best practices. I don't remember the statistics of it though.

    I would guess that there should be some sort of caveat stating something along the lines of, "these are the best practices from a limited number of respondents and it's possible this data is skewed by a lack of response to the initial survey."