Thursday, August 31

Choosing from the top 10

With 90+ performance management vendors out there having a list of the top 10 is invaluable. Craig Schiff's criteria identifies good companies with good offerings. For you making a choice for that "one right" product will be challenging to say the least.

There are two ways to find that one great product that your organization will thank you for finding (or not).

1) Ask someone who says they are an expert in the field. They should guide you through a process of elimination. They should interpret what your organization needs and keep you on the right path.

2) Dive in yourself. A high learning curve but you'll know the product offerings intimately. Be warned. Not all marketing material reflects the "truth" about the products or companies.

Either way the process is the same. Determine the criteria that are important to you. Price. Functionality. Vendor support. Do your research. Which will lead to more research. See a few vendor demonstrations and watch the salesperson courting ritual.

Making a choice is easy when you have hindsight. If you don't have it, use someone else's.

Friday, August 11

Ownership over governance

Knightsbridge released their Top 10 trends in BI. The Whitepaper is brief but they point out that the business is best suited to own and manage the organization's data. Afterall the business supplies the information and consumes the information; taking ownership over how the information is governed for BI only makes sense.

Knightsbridge's "6 key dimensions" for a governance program sound a bit technology and data quality focused. I may supplement them with The Gatekeeper approach and the business committment to taking ownership, especially of meta-data and proliferation of reports.

The ability to bring together multiple business units under Enterprise-level BI will require strong leadership. The business needs to assign leaders who have the authority and influence to navigate the political landscape.

When building a governance model, as Aloys points out, you want to start off with a 70%-right governance model, require committment from stakeholders, and paint a good looking end-state to help stakeholders through change.

Jim Wirth writes a more in-depth post about the top 5 Knightbridge trends.

Wednesday, August 9

Aussi rules for BI

Thanks to Alex Cook for this Austrailian Building Commission website that makes analysis of their performance measures available to the public. You can understand their business just from the intuitive nature of the website.

6 reasons why this is a great site for promoting successful BI:
  1. Users are the public so the drill down analysis needs to be dead simple.
  2. Defintions for each measure are explained clearly and concisely (and short).
  3. Seamless integration between the web user interface and BI tools.
  4. The analysis and reports are displayed using Web presentation best practices (BI vendors could learn here for their own Portal product offerings).
  5. Performance is relative; they compare to 16 headline measures.
  6. You don't know what BI tool is being used or even that you are using a BI tool.

Thursday, August 3

All-you-can-eat BI

All you need is a web browser. No infrastructure. No BI resources or specialists. Then you pay monthly for your transformed BI. How do you have BI without any resources or infrastructure? Doing this would definitely lower the barriers of entry for more SME's to get into BI.

Sharp Analytics offers to do just that - outsource your BI saving you from having BI infrastructure and BI specialists. They started as a niche BI company for marketing data. Now they are providing affordable, web-based, external BI for marketing, financial, utilities and retail.

Their "data as a service" approach lowers the financial burden and removes the need for technical skillsets when operating a BI system. Prepare for this model of BI to take hold and be used by more organizations. The reduced capital spending on initial infrastructure and toolset licenses may be a key driver for many.

Tuesday, August 1

Put the V in your project

When there are a several choices of project managing lifecycles to choose from, which one suites you best.

Waterfall approach. Iterative cycles or spiral model. CMMI. Or the German V-Model.

The V-Model is an interesting concept from Germany. The left tail represents specifications; the right tail as the testing stream related to the specifications defined on the left. The V bottom represents the development stream.

Many projects fall short in the testing cycles. Either not enough or not enough of the right kind. The V-Model shows that testing needs to occur at all levels from the developers code to the business requirements.