This is the second post in my series on changing our approach to BI development. In order to break the BI backlog, move towards more pervasive BI and increase the BI business ROI, an enterprise needs to make fundamental changes to their BI efforts. These changes are interrelated and necessary for success.
For an enterprise to truly experience a BI breakout, here are four of the things we should do differently:
- Business people need to be given BI tools that enable self-service BI (see previous post on this)
- Triage business requests for new BI deliverables such as dashboards, reports, cubes (explained below)
- Establish hybrid BI development methodology
- IT needs to concentrate on creating an information backbone
I’ll discuss the second one below, and the rest in upcoming blog posts.
Triage business requests for new BI deliverables such as dashboards, reports, cubes
The typical IT systems development lifecycle (SLDC) looks like this: the business person puts in a BI request. This request then goes into a requirements queue. From there, the steps include analysis, prioritization, documentation, the writing of specifications, the creation of BI objects, BI testing, BI user acceptance testing and then, finally, production. That whole process can drag on for many, many months. By the time the BI object is in production, the request is likely no longer valid and news ones have been created and placed in the queue.
Without even changing the IT project methodology (below), the most significant tactic that enterprises should use is BI Triage. This approach leverages exploratory analytics to determine what the request is and get the data to the business person. It then lets them determine if the request was a one-time need, will spawn additional requests, or needs to go through the more formal development lifecycle to create a recurring production BI deliverable.
BI Triage can be accomplished by:
- Business people having self-service BI tools themselves with the appropriate data for them to do the exploratory analysis themselves, or
- IT staff developing quick BI prototypes that are given to business people to then use. This approach often is the preferred when the current data portfolio available to business people is not sufficient to support the analysis and IT needs to perform data integration or cleansing.
Check back in a couple of days for #3, “Establish hybrid BI development methodology.”