Friday, April 21

Business is from Mars, IT is from Venus

An article from Rick Sherman questioning whether BI tools and people's skills have improved.
"Every four years someone introduces a new approach to data integration. But the approaches aren't new."
After reading this article, the feeling is the BI profession is going in circles by providing little improvements for the business. Rick explains:

* Multiple "single versions of the truth"
* Data shadow systems are breeding like rabbits
* Business is from Mars, IT is from Venus
* It's not the tools; it's the data
* People still don't understand data warehousing
* The silver bullet solution

Is there potential for BI projects to have these problems today? Absolutely. But let's consider, for example, that building BI is different than typical software application development. An application can be built, and when done well, meets users needs.

Should BI be any different?

BI projects of some size & complexity are scary beasts. The horror stories of the "big bang approach" have been heard, so most project managers take an incremental approach, knowing not all requirements may be met. Of course, if there's the time and money, all user's needs can be met and many of the issues above would disappear. But practically speaking, budgets end and the IT department will move into maintenance mode.

So can "multiple single versions of the truth", "people still don't understand DW", and other problems ever be solved? I believe yes. Experience of teams will grow and vendors will improve their toolsets to meet the complexities of business.

But in the meantime, BI can still answer the most important business questions for a portion of users. And accept that some users will use Excel to fill their analytical gaps. But by focusing on delivering BI projects successfully and not worrying about answering all questions for all people, over time, incrementally, these problems will be eliminated.

No comments: