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Pulling together the BI puzzle

Business intelligence (BI) is so much more than just data and technology.  A truly successful BI capability is built over time by determined and passionate people, with close ties to strategic business stakeholders. 

So says Gill Staniland, principal BI consultant at Synergy, who will be presenting at the ITWeb Business Intelligence Summit 2017 on ‘pulling together the BI puzzle into one clear picture for the modern organisation'. The summit is to be held on 14 and 15 March at The Forum in Bryanston.

She says BI professionals often need to be, or enlist, change agents to make its full impact felt. "The BI advocate needs to wade through complex databases, deal with fast shifting business priorities, navigate office politics, teach, and design beautiful data stories – all in a day's work."

Speaking of what businesses are doing wrong in terms of BI, Staniland says there are many different areas. "However, BI is often under-resourced and technology is seen as a quick panacea when there are deeper problems."

Another problem area, she says, is data quality and governance. "These somewhat unglamorous, tired old things, are still so critical to getting it right. There is no point is having the ability to quickly visualise your data and run predictive models if the raw material is just plain wrong."

Gill Staniland, principal BI consultant at Synergy.

Gill Staniland, principal BI consultant at Synergy.

So what should businesses be doing better? "There needs to be a balance between getting a quick answer out to business, and helping them to self-serve, while at the same time focusing on building a strong, trustworthy base of data that reflects the business needs.  And they need to build up a much stronger capability to understand the real business requirement.  A good BI business analyst is worth their weight in gold."

Delegates attending Staniland's talk will get an understanding of where they could be going wrong in terms of their BI. "Many have spent big budgets and lots of energy building BI, and yet it hasn't turned the business around.  I'll give them some pointers to investigate.  I will also give them some guidelines for implementing Strategic (Enterprise) BI vs Tactical (Departmental) BI."


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