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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.

Too many BI professionals have a self-imposed limitation that their role is to generate reports requested by line managers – guys who manage operations and are responsible for business outcomes. Consider a paradigm shift – “BI’s role is to help measure & enhance business performance”. For example, you help the chief risk officer to heat-map risk and discover corrective action; help the A/R to discover patterns of debtors, and focus collection activity.  We suggest the following practices to create next generation BI –

·         Identify specific business pain points for a stakeholder, and focus BI activity to address that pain. (e.g. “quality issues in my tire assembly seem to have trended up significantly during the last 6 months”, “there seems  to be wide variability around the lead times for delivery of my trucks”)


·         Nobody really reads a long report line by line.  A skilled business user always scans the report for patterns or exceptions – some worthy of future action, some of immediate action. Always question the purpose of long reports – “what are you looking for? Can we do that for you? ”


·         Use techniques like heat maps and traffic lighting, score cards – they help summarize the information and help highlight areas for possible action.


·         Create early POCs and demos. Show and tell. Shh…. you know what, business users do not know the difference between the mock-up and the real thing.  So they feel extremely excited when they see an HTML mock-up; they feel much less excited with a Word mock-up or a PowerPoint.  We created screen mock-ups for critical processes for the Consumer Goods industry; we got rave reviews and a lot of interest by using the POC for a show and tell.


·         Help identify exceptions for action. This may need additional data not contained in the datawarehouse – do not let that constrain you.  Currently this is performed by humans looking at reports; there is no reason why software cannot be trained to do this.


·         Have a layer of SMEs  who could perform the first layer of interpretation – so that business can focus on the next layer & actioning.

Of course, the foundation datawarehouse needs to be available to accomplish all of the above.  Cleanliness of data and its integrity is key to make the above successful. Does this mean that the BI department is no longer a technology group that only creates and maintains reports? Yes. This evolution is long overdue.

Do business stakeholders want this? If you ask, they will say “probably” or “no”. Business cannot want something that they have not experienced. Try a POC. Show them and they will come running.

Can this be outsourced? Hmmm…..

As someone who has spent more time in the outsourcing industry than on the other side, my view is as follows:  This is a very high value-add function. Many outsourcing companies are architected for volume – repeatedly doing an established process at a lower price. My personal recommendation is to program manage the POC till you demonstrate the value addition. Atleast ensure that >50% of the job has becomes codified. Then consider outsourcing the important function of information interpretation.

Look out for my subsequent blog postings: 

·         How do we design the organization for information interpretation? 

·         Can we get software to perform the first layer of report interpretation?

·         How do we leverage outsourcing companies in BI?


Posted November 24, 2009 8:21 PM
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