Dear IT: A Letter from Your Business Users

April 29, 2009
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In which Jill writes a rebuttal letter on behalf of her business clients.

Writing_Letter
photo by aflcio2008

In my last blog post I told a story of a client who, in an effort to explain the value of business intelligence, wrote a letter to his CEO explaining the business value delivered by BI and the ROI projections for newly-integrated data. The letter worked. The BI team got the funding it needed to propel itself from project to program.

But at many companies it would take more than a letter and a value proposition to convince business users of the value of BI. Knowing some of the harsh realities at other companies, I’ve penned a sort of rebuttal letter from the BI user community back to IT.

Dear BI Team:

Long time no see. And by that, we mean where the hell have you been? We know you’re around. Seems you’ve been complaining to our execs about the lack of user adoption. And that we never engage you. And now you’re mad that we’ve hired consultants to come in to help us build a roadmap.

Well guess what? We had no choice. While you’re letting that big database vendor buy you lunch and having dashboard bake-offs and devising new IT standards—again—we have work to do. This may have slipped your mind, b

In which Jill writes a rebuttal letter on behalf of her business clients.

Writing_Letter
photo by aflcio2008

In my last blog post I told a story of a client who, in an effort to explain the value of business intelligence, wrote a letter to his CEO explaining the business value delivered by BI and the ROI projections for newly-integrated data. The letter worked. The BI team got the funding it needed to propel itself from project to program.

But at many companies it would take more than a letter and a value proposition to convince business users of the value of BI. Knowing some of the harsh realities at other companies, I’ve penned a sort of rebuttal letter from the BI user community back to IT.

Dear BI Team:

Long time no see. And by that, we mean where the hell have you been? We know you’re around. Seems you’ve been complaining to our execs about the lack of user adoption. And that we never engage you. And now you’re mad that we’ve hired consultants to come in to help us build a roadmap.

Well guess what? We had no choice. While you’re letting that big database vendor buy you lunch and having dashboard bake-offs and devising new IT standards—again—we have work to do. This may have slipped your mind, but the company has just downsized. Despite this rough patch, our responsibilities haven’t changed. Remember the CEO’s company-wide webcast in January? The one where he promised that in the coming year the company would cut costs while increasing customer acquisition and driving innovation? Well, that’s our job. And we’re trying to get it done.

Frankly we’re not sure whether to feel resentment or resignation. After all, we know what you guys have been spending and, frankly, all that funding should align with our needs. You’ve been loading data warehouse tables for as long as we can remember. But no one’s asked us if we wanted any of that data. And if we hear the question, “What keeps you up at night?” from one of your business analysts one more time we’re going to throw the poor bugger down the elevator shaft. Odds are he’ll bounce off one of those big servers in your data center.

We read someplace that IT is supposed to act as a supplier to the business. We deal with suppliers all the time. But none of them expects us to understand their internal processes—they just help us solve our problems. You guys insist on us working within your framework. Whatever it is.

Here’s what we’d like. We’d like to track the results of our marketing campaigns by the hour and make continuous adjustments. We’d like to monitor and respond to the buzz about the company through social media. We’d like the account reps to know about support and payment issues when they’re writing customer bids. We’d like management to understand the true profitability of our products, not just their revenues. We’d like our numbers to reconcile between finance and sales.

So while you’re mounting your campaign against our consultants and lamenting our shoddy technical skills, why don’t you calendar a face-to-face meeting with us and ask us about this list? No, this isn’t another requirements gathering session. Instead, it’s us offering you an opportunity to participate. We’re hopeful that maybe you can help us solve some of these problems? Or maybe it’ll just be business as usual.

In characteristic anticipation of something new,

Your Users

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