Business Intelligence or Intelligent Business

A recently blog by Josh Healan of DataForge said that many companies failed despite having invested heavily in expensive software (e.g. SAP). I think he correctly pointed out that software, including Business Intelligence applications, cannot tell the executives about future disasters if they choose to run their business intelligently.

There might be a few reasons why businesses fail to execute despite their heavy investment in SAP, Oracle or ‘put your vendor name here’.

  1. Data unavailable – The applications they bought were not designed to provide intelligence to help the executives make decisions.  They were merely designed to support individual transactions without considering the strategic goals.   Ask you vendor to provide the functionality or implement your own BI against it.
  2. Executives fail to grasp the importance – The business intelligence and analytic applications tell the executives that something is up, but the executives fail to understand how these data points impact their business.  There is no substitute for an intelligent leader.
  3. CPM treated as one time project – Corporate Performance Management is a process, whether it is implemented using Cognos, Hyperion, Business Objects or some other products.  If the executives do not revise the goals as things change and manage the business to the new goals, the software investment would be for naught.

Spending money on ERP, CRM or Business Intelligence applications does not automatically make an intelligent business.  In my days of managing a BI product for IT organizations, I often asked the customers what business decision or process they wanted to optimize.  If they did not know, no amount of BI investment would help them execute better.

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