Business Intelligence - Corporate Oxymoron or Capability

BI has been around as a term since 1958   an output of an IBM researcher and further brought into the public domain by Howard Dresner (the aforementioned facts come from my favourite on-line reference source) but the question is – have businesses become more intelligent from the legions of technology thrown at Business Analytics, Data Warehousing and related  data churning approaches.

You may ask why am I concerning myself about this? Well I find myself intimately concerned with how large amounts of data are consumed by non-IT people and the tools we (at MS) offer them.

Within both our EPM and business data graphic offerings (alright MS Project Server and Visio) the amount of BI that we are using or facilitating has moved to a new, more sophisticated level. Now I demo this capability on a regular basis and I love it, but I do get asked in various situation can we do ‘this’ or can we get at ‘that’. Most of these questions arise from a fundamental lack of understanding of the importance of (a) having, (b) understanding and (c) using your data model consistently and thus ensuring the on-going quality of that data.

I dined with a friend last week who works for a large UK bank currently seeking to integrate ‘bought in’ operations; they are faced with the fact that they both really don’t understand their own data (which goes back decades) and certainly have little knowledge of the data they have recently acquired. Yet more data silo’s being created.

I showed him the full capabilities of my beloved Visio and he was stunned at the lack of internal understanding of this type of tool.   

If you have the quality data the industry has the solutions, to paraphrase colleagues of mine, ‘Advance Business Intelligence made simple’ is deliverable every day to every user, so don’t be Oxymoronic just be Capable.