The Benefits of Business Intelligence

April 16, 2009
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Peter Thomas had a terrific post a few weeks ago called “Measuring the benefits of Business Intelligence.” If you haven’t read it already, I encourage you to go see this quickly and then return before continuing on with the rest of this post.

Good, now that you have read this, I’m beginning to think we should all take a deep breath and maybe begin to frame up or organize discussions like this around themes our business partners understand – e.g., translating our findings for example across the five (and only five) essentials in business that matter; cash flow, profitability, velocity, growth, and customer intimacy. This theme can be extended to the non-profit or government world by simply substituting the word outcome for profitability. I guess what I’m driving at is a way to simplify our thinking and share what we are really doing in terms (lexicon) most of our customers and management can understand. An additional perspective can be introduced here as well by using business intelligence to answer the important and urgent questions. For example, I would want to know:

Are we doing the right things?

  • Uncover where the significant dollars are; are they really in layoffs or outsourc

Peter Thomas had a terrific post a few weeks ago called “Measuring the benefits of Business Intelligence.” If you haven’t read it already, I encourage you to go see this quickly and then return before continuing on with the rest of this post.

Good, now that you have read this, I’m beginning to think we should all take a deep breath and maybe begin to frame up or organize discussions like this around themes our business partners understand – e.g., translating our findings for example across the five (and only five) essentials in business that matter; cash flow, profitability, velocity, growth, and customer intimacy. This theme can be extended to the non-profit or government world by simply substituting the word outcome for profitability. I guess what I’m driving at is a way to simplify our thinking and share what we are really doing in terms (lexicon) most of our customers and management can understand. An additional perspective can be introduced here as well by using business intelligence to answer the important and urgent questions. For example, I would want to know:

Are we doing the right things?

  • Uncover where the significant dollars are; are they really in layoffs or outsourcing?
  • Manage operational costs so that they are directly tied to volume; you should only pay for what you are using, right?

Are we realizing the benefits?

  • Why “financial re-engineering” may be the worst thing you can trust in for use in your decisions
  • Discover and measure the real value of producing profitable, sustained business

Are we doing them the right way?

  • Uncover the power of cycle compression and really do more with less
  • How to produce higher quality products and services in our work products
  • Why shared information is more accurate, timely, complete, and less expensive

Are we getting them done well?

  • How to drive costs (not merely shift them) from the business
  • Why your most valuable resources may not be focused on the highest value opportunities

expensivewatch Not sure I can even begin to answer questions like this without a good clean source of reliable data I can use in a business intelligence application. Of course, I can always guess or do what many of my potential customers will do – go with their gut feel (many of them are usually right, much like the broken watch that is correct twice a day <g>).

For more on this see an early post Where is Enterprise Architecture when we really need it and The business case for Enterprise Architecture. Both of these posts are a little off- topic (not strictly Business Intelligence), but I believe this will provide you an little insight into what my EA peers are struggling with now – essentially the same issue in a different but related discipline.

Please let me know what your thoughts are, hoping this is beginning to shape up into a more useful organizing principal we can all share to communicate better with out business partners.