One of the primary reasons, especially after this latest downturn, that companies are so keen to invest in business intelligence is that it became apparent to business executives that there were significant gaps in their knowledge about the core operations of the company.
But just throwing BI software at the problem isn't going to solve the problem. Many companies are discovering that the initial investment in BI software does more to expose broken business processes than it does to necessarily fix them.
That's not a bad thing, says Karthik Krishnamurthy, Global Lead for Data Warehouse, Business Intelligence and Corporate Performance Management at the IT consulting firm Cognizant. The real question is how do companies organize themselves to more efficiently identify and fix broken business processes? Krishnamurthy says the most intriguing trend he's seen in this regard is the cross-pollination of business and IT people in various departments. Companies have taken to embedding IT people inside business units to specifically organize the data, while also embedding business people inside the IT department to help identify relevant data that needs to be included in various BI applications.
On the face of it, this may seem to be an obvious approach. But given the cultural divide between the business and the IT departments, this level of collaboration is more often the exception than the rule. All the BI software in the world isn't going to fundamentally change the underlying business condition until all the people with the complementary skill sets needed to identify and solve a business issue are working hand in glove on the same issues at the same time.