Selling BI… Are we doing it wrong?

March 5, 2012
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Ideas Worth Spreading

I had an epiphany of sorts lately after viewing the following video from TED. Simon Sinek gave a talk about how great leaders inspire action and gave three powerful examples. Like most thing I hear I asked myself “How does this apply to BI?” and for me it turned on a light bulb.

Watch this video, it’s 18 minutes well spent.

Ideas Worth Spreading

I had an epiphany of sorts lately after viewing the following video from TED. Simon Sinek gave a talk about how great leaders inspire action and gave three powerful examples. Like most thing I hear I asked myself “How does this apply to BI?” and for me it turned on a light bulb.

Watch this video, it’s 18 minutes well spent.

 

Applying this Concept to Business Intelligence

Most BI Professionals talk about the latest technology, emerging trends, software, star schema designs, delivery methods, mobile BI, “big data”, in-memory, etc… the list goes on and on, but in my 15 years I’ve never heard a BI professional explain WHY they work in the “BI Space”! Most everyone works for a paycheck, but that old adage of “Do what you love, and the money will follow”… how many BI practitioners fall in to that bucket? My guess would be more than most when it comes to technical jobs, but I would also guess that most have never given any thought about why. What we do is hard, there is not getting around it, so there has to be a level of passion for data and analysis that comes with the job. I will admit it, until watching this video I didn’t give it any thought, but I was able to answer the question very easily.

Why do I do it?

“I work to enable better business decision by leveraging what already is known against things that are not known. Through this process I attempt to provide insight in to the company’s inner workings and make those who use the data more successful and productive.”

How do I do it?

“By leveraging best practice methodologies, and applying it within the reality that is the business environment realizing that those two don’t always align”

What do I do?

“I build data warehouses and business intelligence solutions that meet business requirements”

If we approached the business users from this inside-out approach to “sell” them BI, what do you think the result would be? I think this method has potential to improve user adoption rates, improve the requirements process, and contribute to the overall success of BI projects. Am I a dreamer? Probably, but it makes perfect sense! If someone came to me selling the Why rather than the What I think I would be much more engaged in what was going on… we have to get the business to believe what we believe, not buy what we are selling.

If you are reading this, sit down and figure out why you do BI… what do you believe? Then take the next step and rather than selling the what to the business, try to sell the why!