Smarter BI

How to take your business intelligence efforts to the next level.

Business intelligence isn't really a technology issue anymore; it's a people and business issue. As Julia King's article in this special report suggests , BI requires people to figure out a common language (with data definitions), learn how to use the powerful data mining tools and put aside petty politics and power squabbles so they can share information.

"BI has little to do with technology and far more to do with your understanding of business processes," says Hap Cluff, director of IT for the city of Norfolk, Va.

It's actually possible to be too successful deploying BI technology, if you wind up with a proliferation of disconnected databases and swamp users with a lot of out-of-context information. With the help of this special report, you can avoid or solve those problems. The No. 1 thing to keep in mind is that the main goal is not to install BI technology but to help people in the business make better (read: more profitable) decisions.

I suspect most BI projects start off on the wrong foot, with a decision about which software package to buy. Bad idea. The first discussion should be purely business: What specific information would help us be more profitable? In other words, figure out your business destination before figuring out how you're going to get there. As Union Pacific CIO Jim Bell puts it, "Ideally, you should know the BI value proposition upfront."

Mitch Betts is executive editor at Computerworld. Contact him at

Special Report


Smarter BI

Stories in this report:

Copyright © 2005 IDG Communications, Inc.

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