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November 22, 2013

Characteristics of companies with successful BI & Analytics initiatives


Guest Post by

Kishor Gummaraju, VP, Head, Management Consulting Services and BI & Analytics for Retail, CPG, Logistics and Life Sciences, Infosys Limited
Harish Gudi, Partner, Management Consulting Services, Infosys Limited
Santhanakrishnan R, Senior Principal, Management Consulting Services, Infosys Limited

Every organization that's in tune with current trends has BI & Analytics programs. What is also true in most places is "everyone within is running with what they call as analytics"!

IT / BI teams are focused on shaping up the enterprise BI & Analytics strategy, identify the right tools to be part of the 'standard stack', and deliver metrics & cubes that business can then pull into their self-serviced (sometimes do-whatever-you-want!) reporting & analysis on ipads.

On the other hand, business teams are adopting solutions that are fast enough to meet their needs & give them ready to consume insights, whatever the technology components are (standard or custom), and whoever the provider (internal BI or external providers), even if they realize the repercussions

There's frustration on both sides. Comments like "we can't deviate from our enterprise BI standards & have island solutions" (BI) and "we have these because we don't get what we need in reasonable time" (business) are not very uncommon even today.

Smarter organizations have realized the way to make peace is to feverishly collaborate & balance goals. This helps them make smarter choices and partnerships to deliver to the fullest range of business needs and realize value, consistently over a longer period of time.

A few characteristics stand out in organizations that are extremely successful in their BI & Analytics initiatives:

1) Right Structure:

Their BI & Analytics programs are not owned 'only by IT' or 'only by business'. They have a structure that has participation from IT & business and has a collective skin in the game model, with a clear owner from senior leadership. Data scientists nicely fit in.

    - Chief Analytics Officer announcements are rare, but CIOs doubling up as Chief Information & Insights Officers or a senior business functional leader moving to own and drive BI & Analytics are common.

2) Choices driven by Time to Value:

Such structure allow them to make architectural / technology / process choices that simultaneously address rapid value delivery, and building robust + scalable enterprise scale solutions.

 - They are at ease with new-age rapid visual discovery platforms sitting alongside enterprise BI workhorses, on top of high quality data

- Their processes are agile in spirit and practice, and their BI & Analytics roadmap tuned to deliver value in bursts along the way than at end of horizon.

3) Right Data:

They work on a common definition of truth driven by robust master data

    - They don't eternally try reconciling "my numbers" with "your numbers".

4) Range of business solutions, embedded deep into business processes:

Their services are not only technology implements, or self-service reports, or just statistical models, but a full range of solutions tuned to specific business users and their decision contexts

      - For example, they have the right shopper KPIs measured, they are able to visually map & analyse shopper decision journeys (online & offline) and better predict consumer behaviour via analysts collaborating with business, and are able to leverage that understanding to serve up right products at the point of purchase via personalization platforms - all in a clock-work like business as usual manner.

5) Implementation Focus

They are able to close the loop on analytics from concept to development to implementation to value realization

      - Given there is both IT & business participation, buy-in on the solution and technical feasibility is built-in. Fewer solutions end up in cold-storage.

6) Measured response to industry trends than knee-jerk reactions

They also are able to plan & conquer business challenges that need next generation solutions (and make choices such as big data based on clear business case & not give into myths in hope of value).

The approach here is Test-Learn-Scale, using the right use-cases.

7) Institutionalizing Insights

Finally, because there is trust, they are able to permeate analytics across the enterprise in a way that delivers value, in a business as usual way. Call it 'Institutionalizing an Insights driven decision making culture'.

They think right about BI & Analytics. Therefore, they are (the winners!).

Noted analyst agency HfS has just published their blueprint report on enterprise analytics services. This report analyzes capabilities of multiple analytics service providers. Infosys has been positioned in the winner's circle by HfS in this report. You can read more about this report and download it from here


About the bloggers:

Kishor Gummaraju heads the Management Consulting practice for his industry vertical - Retail, CPG, Logistics and Life Sciences. Kishor has over 2 decades of work experience in industry and has led business transformations at several organizations across the globe. At Infosys, he has been instrumental in establishing and growing Infosys presence in the area of Business Insights. Kishor's area of focus has been helping organizations on their journey towards establishing an Insights Driven Enterprise. Kishor has written several papers and has presented at several international events. Kishor can be reached at

Harish Gudi is a Partner with the Management Consulting Services at Infosys. With over seventeen years of experience, Harish leads the Business Intelligence and Analytics service (consulting, technology and analytics) lines for our clients in Retail, Consumer Goods, Logistics and Life Sciences Industries. Harish can be reached at

Santhanakrishnan R - is a Senior Principal with the Management Consulting Services at Infosys. For the last ten years, Santhana has been consulting with clients in Retail, Consumer Goods, and Retail Financial Services industries on realizing value from a range of reporting, visualization and predictive analytics solutions. He is a Mechanical Engineer, and has a MBA from Indian Institute of Science, Bangalore. Santhana can be reached at