How do we educate upper management and our company executives on the importance and value of business intelligence and BI programs?
Simple: Align BI to an important strategic objective. With all due respect to operational needs, when BI is positioned as a strategic enabler, executives put down their soup spoons and listen. Many of my clients have introduced “Know Thy Customer” programs or similar loyalty initiatives, and they have news for you: They couldn’t have achieved these (often exceedingly lofty) goals sans analytics or BI reporting.
I’ve seen the flipside of this, of course. It’s the development director in IT trying to explain the importance of grid computing to a financial analyst, or a segment manager in marketing talking about scraping social media data. It’s all a set of intellectual exercises until you can make the case for how BI and integrated data will help accelerate a sanctioned strategy.
Sometimes we use a modified version of Kaplan and Norton’s strategy mapping for BI as a way to align BI capabilities back to strategic objectives. This lets us not only tell but show executives how BI can help. Tactics like this are great at not only educating upper management, but cementing their commitment. Now go!
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