Aligning an organisation with its business strategy and vision is not as simple as following a flowchart. Sadly, many organisations know exactly which areas of the business and processes need to be improved but then focus solely on the symptoms. A symptom-based business case is usually weak, the ROI is badly calculated and great opportunity to improve the organisation is lost or diluted. We are conditioned to react to pain which makes us act fast and settle for easy options and we often fail to step back and look at the wider root cause. The root cause is where the real ROI can be found and tackling the root is always far more effective.
People genuinely want to improve their organisations through better information, but the question is “HOW?”. The answer is always “What is the business trying to achieve?”. Initially do not look at the broken report or the two weeks it takes to maul ten spreadsheets into a monthly management pack, put aside the symptom until the process is understood. Fixing or automating a report is usually only addressing an IT issue and there are often further manipulations and manifestations of that data as the data flows through the organisation.
Business Intelligence is about helping people make better decisions, so the process needs to be understood. Is the organisation trying to improve its payment performance, its safety record, or its retention of key people? Whatever the process, modern business intelligence is about delivering a solution that will work for the whole organisation and not simply a point solution. Only when the process is understood can a solution be designed that will deliver information to the right people, at the right time, in a consistent manner. A well-designed dataset can support the whole process with accurate relevant information from cradle to grave.
The concept of a one dataset feeding a single point in a process is long gone, its inconsistent, expensive, time consuming and returns poor value. If the real cause is never investigated, it is a case of running around in circles, wasting everyone’s time. Doctors only treat symptoms when they cannot diagnose the cause or there is no medical solution but with Business Intelligence there is certainly always a solution.