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Rajgopal Kishore

Welcome to my blog. I wish to share best practices, insights and trends on business intelligence (BI). To me BI is about measuring your business, discovering performance levers and enhancing business performance. Effective BI is a closed-loop feedback system that learns constantly and is reoriented based on performance improvements.

Tools and technology are part of the solution but are not the solution in themselves. Too many organizations have all the right tools, technologies and technical skill sets but still fall short of effecting performance improvement.

This blog is about the problem-solving approach required to make BI impact business performance. My blogs share my personal insight gleaned by consulting with Fortune 1000 organizations and creating world-class SI practices. Some of the themes I write about include:

  • Gaps in current tools and technologies
  • Suggestions around organizational structures and skills
  • Making IT successful in BI
  • Client experiences - both good and bad

Join me in this endeavor.

About the author >

Rajgopal Kishore is an accomplished industry leader with more than 20 years of experience. He consults with Fortune 1000 clients around IT and BI strategy. He has jumpstarted and scaled IT/BI consulting practices at top-five outsourcing/system integration companies. His personal passion is to help clients realize business value from technology and outsourcing decisions. Over the last decade, Kishore has consulted on enterprise architecture, IT optimization, architecting complex transaction systems, performance assessments, IT strategy and BI strategy. While building consulting and solution delivery organizations, Kishore has relentlessly focused on listening to clients and providing solutions to real client needs as opposed to articulated requirements. In his last stint at a major IT outsourcer, Kishore felt a need to reorient team members to consultative engagements and, as a result, he created a game-based and case study-based consulting workshop. You can contact him at rkishore9@gmail.com.

Business intelligence programs could be successful IT endeavors but often fall far short of making the desired business impact. In other words, DW & BI project teams working on say Credit Risk analytics have delivered their models and reports, but business is still left with the challenge of gleaning insights & trends worthy of action. Most businesses get so frustrated with the state of affairs that they often assemble their own "BI" teams to obtain these insights and actionables.

In this first part of a multi-part blog posting, I offer analyses, along with simple and practical methods for BI programs to become shop-usable. These tips will be useful for core business functions (CEO’s office, Risk, Compliance, Supply Chain etc) as well as the IT function.  I willl also call out  ideas for services organizations (SIs) to craft a next generation BI services organization.

Let us address the requirements gathering for BI. IT often likes to think of BI requirements in terms of "tell me what reports or dashboards you like to see. Tell me what data items and dimensions  you need, and the report format".   IT tends to dumb requirements to a point where it becomes an IT convenience.  A transformational question is "tell me how you plan to read these reports, what trends & insights you could possibly glean, and what decisions you expect to make?" In other words, it is important capture the unarticulated framework being used by the business stakeholder to make determinations and commence action. Providing recommendations (even if parameterized)  gives an action focus to BI. Whenever we are creating  reports in hundreds for the same or similar stakeholders, be sure much of it is not used, and not considered valuable. (report portfolio optimization – a subject of my future blog posting).

If your BI program is not providing recommendations for action (because you presume it is "their" job), be sure the usefulness of your reports is limited – essentially you are saying – "this is all the data guys, figure it out by yourself".   Re-orienting the conversations with business stakeholders around measures, insight and recommendations has the potential of  IT to be seen as a positive business partner as opposed to a data provider.

In subsequent blog postings, I will give examples of the framework to be used, the roles needed to make this happen.


Posted November 15, 2009 7:03 AM
Permalink | 8 Comments |

8 Comments

Welcome to the blogosphere Kishore. Looking forward to following you here.

Regards,
Raj

Thanks for your insights on Bi requirement discovery process. It is really a challenge to bring out the “unarticulated framework” used by the business stakeholder. A multi-pronged approach is required to uncover all stated and unstated informational needs. The approach could be KPI driven, Business Objectives driven, Business Pain point driven, Business process driven and Reports rationalization driven. Based on the maturity level of the organization adjustment may required on the approach. There is certainly a need for re-orienting the conversation with Business stakeholders to produce Next Gen Bi.

Looking forward to your next blog posting.

This is the emerging new generation BI. This can address Top 20 Business issues right from the CxO down to Field Sales Personnel.

Absolutely true. I am working on a project where we are re-engineering an EDW for a bank. The project is driven by the bank's IT department and they have never tried to find the usage pattern of the data that goes out of DWH.

Thus when we are trying to re-engineer, we keep emphasizing the importance of involving the real users of the data to build an usable data warehouse. But the IT department is being elusive and keeps us away from the real users of the data.

We could already visualize that the new solution being not used by the end users because of this.

It is really miserable to see things like this happen.

Insightful blog on Business Intelligence. My two cents - BI solutions should provide information in an intelligent manner (not inundate information in front of user). Data visualization patterns play an important role in making a decision-making process easier . It is sad that we can find pertinent information faster on internet than inside a enterprise. What we need is, google like search solutions inside an enterprise. Applications should talk the language of business not the other way

This is a Good blog about Business Intelligence from the view point of the IT industry and customers across segments. The credit risk analytics example shown is a great example to quote. Focus on tools and IT technologies takes most of the services industry consultants so far away from the skills needed to solve Business Intelligence challenges of the day (from personal experience). Risk analytics in the financial sector needs skills completely different from reporting and visualization. Lack of focus on important subjects like statistics, accurate computational modeling of numerical algorithms, can lead to delivery of scientifically incorrect products when building BI products.

The typical Business Intelligence IT consultant has no training in Business Analytics as he learns RDBMS, and Some of the most popular OLAP type reporting tools and interfaces with Business consultants with similar skills. It is quite important to develop a balanced skill set in the organization on analytics techniques across a wide range of academic disciplines including but not limited to Probability and Statistics, Numerical algorithms , machine learning, data mining, Text analytics, Graph theory, Large scale data management,Network software modeling, Project management and corporate law.

Many universities are offering courses around fine tuning candidates for Business Analytics and Business intelligence.
Example curriculum is at
http://www.smurfitschool.ie/t4cms/ba%20curriculum%202009.pdf
This is an encouraging trend, though these courses are limited to few universities.

Thanks Kishore. It was wonderful. I Would love to follow you to learn more.

Selvam. R

Set your own life more simple take the loans and everything you need.

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