Business Intelligence is part of a bigger picture and not a particular software package. BI in general involves many different factors in order to be successful no matter what software or skill set is being used. It requires the knowledge and expertise of the individuals who know it best. This includes the customer knowing what problems they have or want to prevent, as well as the software vendor and/or consultants who know how to provide solutions for those problems.
Analogy 1: Imagine you want to hang a picture. You have some screws but do not have any tools. You go to the hardware store and say, “I need a hammer”, because you think that this is the proper tool to get the job done. The proper response would be for the salesperson to ask you, “What do you need the hammer for?” or “What project will the hammer help you with?” When he finds out that you want to hang a picture and all you have are screws, the salesperson may suggest a screwdriver instead of the hammer or perhaps give you nails and a hammer. Even better yet, he may offer something that is even easier to use or costs less like those new gravity hooks. The salesperson needs to ask the proper questions to help the customer with the proper solutions. He may even offer a better solution to which the customer had no idea about. The salesperson was the expert who provided the knowledge for the proper solution or alternative.
BI not only involves helping the customer with existing problems but also involves helping them to see problems that they many not know exist.
Analogy 2: Imagine having a piece of food on your lip and not knowing it. Your friend says, “Hey, you got something on your lip!”, and points it out to you. You then take the appropriate action to resolve that problem by wiping it away with a napkin. The napkin was the tool, the wiping was the action taken from the knowledge and direction provided by your friend. Your friend helped you discover a problem you didn’t know was there.
It is clear and easy to see that these two analogies provide support that Business Intelligence is about collaboration, communication, discovery, knowledge, insight, direction and action to just name a few. These factors along with the proper software and services can provide an organization with a successful BI implementation. The software can be part of a specific BI Platform or simply an application development environment used to create business applications that provide knowledge on data. Business Intelligence is not just about collecting data and reporting, it is a methodology in which experts can provide assistance. If you would like your organization to succeed with BI, it is extremely important to understand its factors and learn how to analyze and use the data created by this methodology.
BI is part of a bigger picture, is in the heads of people and not just in the software.
Director of Sales Engineering