Don't Let Technology Tunnel Vision Derail BI


IT departments can become so embroiled in the nuts-and-bolts implementation issues involved with new technologies that they forget to keep their eyes on the bigger business prize.


This has been the case with almost every technology, from ERP to CRM to, more recently, SOA. Yet focusing too closely on technical issues while neglecting to spell out business benefits can doom a technology to "either failure or obscurity," says Cape Clear CEO Annrai O'Toole in his blog.


Also suffering from technology tunnel vision, according to this DMReview article, is business intelligence. The business, rather than IT, should own BI initiatives, suggests its author.


Indeed, many of the BI problems reported by respondents to recent Data Warehousing Institute and Accenture surveys relate more to business objectives than to technical issues.


For instance, 78 percent of respondents to the DWI survey cited arguments over which data belongs in master data repositories. Forty-two percent of executives told Accenture they were simply overwhelmed by too much information.


In an interview with IT Business Edge, Hired Brains founder Neil Raden lays much of the blame on BI vendors. They have constrained the use of BI, he says, by just attempting to inform people rather than providing them with tools to help them actually accomplish their work. In particular, he cites a lack of collaboration tools in BI platforms.


Less than a month after the interview with Raden was published, several BI vendors announced plans to embed business-friendly tools such as instant messaging into their platforms. So maybe vendors, at least, are beginning to get the business message. IT executives would do well to follow their example.