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Building a business intelligence (BI) strategy

Deploying an arsenal of business intelligence (BI) reporting tools and other BI software products may do little for a company unless it has a solid and well grounded BI strategy supporting its BI tools and platforms. The problem is that a lot of businesses lack formal BI strategies and may even see the term BI strategy as an oxymoron, according to Jill Dyche, a partner and co-founder of Baseline Consulting and an expert on BI and data management technologies. To help you get started on building a BI strategy or upgrading an existing one, spoke with Dyche at the recent TDWI World Conference and BI Executive Summit in Las Vegas about the process of creating a strategic plan for deploying and managing BI systems.

In this four-minute video interview, viewers will get Dyche’s take on whether BI strategies are still in the developmental stages at most organizations, learn about business intelligence competency centers and find out whether setting up a BICC should be the first step in creating a successful BI plan. Viewers will also get tips and best-practices advice from Dyche on how to shift their BI strategy development process into high gear. Be sure to also watch part two of this interview, in which Dyche talks about the BI portfolio approach to prioritizing the deployment of BI applications and how businesses can benefit from it.

 Table of Contents:

•         Building a business intelligence (BI) strategy

•         Understanding the business intelligence (BI) portfolio approach

Read the full text transcript from this video below. Please note the full transcript is for reference only and may include limited inaccuracies. To suggest a transcript correction, contact [email protected].   

Building a business intelligence (BI) strategy

Craig Stedman: Hello. This is Craig Stedman from TechTarget's Enterprise
Applications Media Group. I am at the TDWI World Conference, in Las
Vegas, and I am speaking today with Jill Dyche about building a
business intelligence strategy. Jill is a partner and co-founder of
Baseline Consulting, a consulting firm that focuses on BI, master data
management, data integration, and other data management technologies
and processes. Thank you for speaking with us today, Jill.

Jill Dyche: Absolutely. It is great to be back Craig.

Craig Stedman: Are the BI strategies at most companies still in the development stages?

Jill Dyche: A lot of our clients still actually see BI strategy as being an
oxymoron. It was really interesting this morning, if you noticed,
because it is an executive summit, but yet a lot of people raised
their hand when it came to having to deploy reports in an ad-hoc way
to people, upon request. The fact that a lot of this is post-facto
analysis and reporting means that there really is not a BI strategy. I
guess what the BI strategy means deploying reports on request to users
who are asking for information is OK, but what we really want to do is
deploy business capabilities incrementally to a cross-section of
people, to a cross-section of business processes with a cross-section
of data over time. That is really the true advantage of enterprise BI, and
it is really the true advantage of enterprise data warehousing as
well; that is the goal that a lot of people foresee, it is just not,
to your point, most people are not there yet.

Craig Stedman: Is setting up a BI competency center the first step to creating a BI strategy?

Jill Dyche: No. We tell our clients, 'Do not start a competency center, as splashy as
that sounds.' I had a client actually say, 'We need to start a
competency center so we can get attention back on the business side,
so we can get on people's radar, so let us hang the BI competency
center.' What we say is, 'Deploy the first application, earn the right
to have a competency center, deploy some value, then hang the shingle if you
want. It really should not be the first step.' In fact, what we found
with our clients is if you deploy a BI competency center and you are
too early, you may not get a second shot. Be really careful about the
timing of your competency center.

Craig Stedman: What should you do to get started on a BI strategy, then?

Jill Dyche: There is a couple of different things, and a lot of it depends on
where you are today. There are a lot of pretty mature data warehouses
environments that are, they just need to resuscitate themselves a
little bit, they need to get back on the business' radar, and they
need to actually start to proselytize what they have been doing. In
order to do that, sometimes we need to do is some discovery work and
some inventory work; what have we done so far? What data do we have?
What reports have we deployed? What applications do we have, and how
do we propel some of those things forward and build some new things?
What we are finding is sometimes there is a wholesale revamp of the
data warehouse strategy, and companies are really starting from
scratch. In those particular scenarios, we do recommend starting with
a BI portfolio approach, where you are actually identifying and
encapsulating a set of applications that are enabled by information
that you can actually deploy to the business, that the business is
involved in defining, along with IT. That is a great approach because
it fosters collaboration around BI, which does not necessarily happen,
even in BI organizations that are super mature.

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