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Build an operational business intelligence career with business process reengineering skills

I have a BEng in engineering and an MSc in information systems. My passions are innovation and business process reengineering (BPR) and I'm an asset integrity engineer in the oil and gas industry. My 15 years of professional experience include 10 years in engineering and five years in an IT/analyst role.

I am now working in engineering and find I am constantly looking at business processes and developing ways of improvement. In addition to my normal role, I take on the task of analyzing and adding smarts to the business process. Over time, I have come to realize my interests are in a more business intelligence (BI) role. I would love to able to work within a range of industries (not just oil and gas). Where can I go from here, and how?

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That is an impressive background. I'm not sure you are looking to be a business intelligence (BI) architect since your passion is in business process reengineering (BPR) and you'd probably want a job where BPR knowledge is applicable. Knowledge of BI is helpful in all fields and domains and, actually, BI is becoming much more about business process as time goes on. But BPR is definitely a hot career option today and you may want to pursue Six Sigma certification.

With your background, you will have a great opportunity to know where BI can be most effectively leveraged inside business processes – akin to a movement we are calling operational business intelligence. This is a growing area of focus in the BI field and I find that few in business understand BI enough -- and few in IT understand business process enough. I would think about focusing on this area of BI for your career -- which includes utilizing enterprise information integration (EII), master data management (MDM), operational dashboards, data stream processing and complex event processing -- rather than jumping into the fray of a traditional BI job or career.

As for working in a range of industries, consultants, over time, get to work in many industries. If you are willing to travel, you might consider getting into BI consulting. Consultancies will need operational business intelligence in the next few years, so that could make for a great career.

This was first published in August 2008

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