From my Who's Better: Business or IT debate, I received feedback, some strongly opinionated, from people with examples of CIO's as successful sponsors/leaders of BI initiatives. I have several examples myself.
And Frank Buytendijk's rebuttal (kudos on taking the high road, Frank) shares his Platinum Rule ("those with the knowledge and experience, make the rules") and thoughts on organizational maturity. I can appreciate his statement that "the only project approach more disastrous than the IT-driven project, is the business-driven project."
While this debate on the success of IT or business driven projects is healthy, I feel we're missing something. As most leadership books will say, a good, strong leader is important but the people on the team are the ones who make it happen. Regardless how well a leader can motivate, the results are capped by the capabilities, skills, and experience of the individuals and the team as a whole.
As Jim Collins (writer of Good to Great) says, "Do you have the right people on the bus (the wrong people off the bus) and the right people in the right seats?"
This is the job of a leader... or at least it should be.
The job of the team, especially when talking about BI, is to reach for that higher rung and be the best at what you do -- architects, developers, business analysts, power users, report writers, quality assurance specialists, testers, project managers, and the list goes on.
While I think good leaders are required (great ones are hard to find), it is up to the individuals on the team to make their BI project a success. Have water-cooler conversations, share ideas, and learn from the best (and each other). Push for a team culture where you can bring your ideas to the group -- uncriticized. Freely research ways to improve your BI system -- remember the goal is information to the masses.
Okay back to the question of "who's better, an IT or business driven project"? After leaders sort out the bus and seat question, who's going to deliver BI success for your organization? I firmly believe it's not just the technically-minded people but all the people who know what is needed for your organization... from those with knowledge of the content required by the management team through to those with experience of core software functionality.
I would say without the emphasis on the team delivering BI for your organization won't reach it's full potential. Then "success" becomes only a thought dreamt up at the beginning of the initiative along with the Project Charter.