A Vendors Guide for Understanding BI Deployments - Business v/s IT
Coming back from a recent onsite assignment, I realized how difficult it was being a BI implementation vendor. More so in a world where the Business and IT teams of the same organization view and evaluate the same BI application/platform using different yardsticks.
So what is it that makes these two different views so important to understand in order to develop a solid, easy to use and balanced BI platform which enables an organization to move forward intelligently and without hiccups?
In my experience the need for and value added by BI implementations is looked at differently by Business and IT against the following
1. Solution Architecture: Business executives require a solution which is easy to translate for the users and requires minimal overhead. IT on the other hand would be primarily concerned with the safety of the data and robustness of the solution
2. Data Access: Business users are more interested in the time taken for retrieving data and are looking for a solution which would provide them with answers in a matter of seconds. IT is more inclined to look at the solution more from the point of data security ensuring that no sensitive information is being tapped into apart from what is required as part of the Business requirements
3. Self Service and Flexibility: Business expects the BI solution to be one self-service one - where they can perform the required operations (say generating a report) without any help. IT on the other hand want the platform to be flexible enough to cater to the future needs of the organization
4. Modes of Delivery: In today's global business landscape executives are on the move most of the time and hence prefer critical reports to be delivered on their smartphones and tablets. With the concept of Bring Your Own Device gaining momentum in the West the IT Department prefers limiting the different devices that can be connected to the official network to aid the integration with the enterprise security model
5. Solution Benefits: Consumable reports for Business users at all levels helping in the decision making process is the expectation from the Business side whereas IT is more focused on the impact of the data volumes and the ease with which the solution integrates with the existing infrastructure and data sources
6. Long Term View: From the Business perspective a sustainable and flexible solution is important which helps in cutting the cost and time associated to user training which maybe required after iterative design changes. IT on the other hand thinks more about the number of vendors it would have to manage and the scalability of the solution
Though the priorities of these two sides are often at odds with each other both Business and IT provide a valuable perspective to BI deployments. As a vendor, understanding both the sides and facilitating collaboration is the best opportunity for long-term growth and success.