Posted by: Dave | March 1, 2009

Business Intelligence: The Realm & Range

Business Intelligence; it’s about the collection and analysis of data to make superior business decisions. It’s an umbrella term that covers the skills, techniques, technologies, practices, and applications relating to better decision making. Simple concept. But how does it translate into practice?

BI, as an idea, is a highly abstracted concept that permeates into every fissure of an organization. Everybody makes decisions, and every decision is based off information. Albeit, sometime’s is pretty horrible information (and thus is bad BI), but it’s information nonetheless. BI Ranges all the way from the Data Warehousing to the Decision-Making.

When it comes time to implement a new BI system at your workplace, how do you draw the lines of jurisdiction of your new team or department? You can’t simply have an all encompassing ‘God Team’ that collects information, analyzes data, and makes everyone’s decisions for them. The exact implementation will, of course, vary greatly from organization to organization. Various people are better suited for different parts of the BI machine. Database Admins and Data Architects are more suited for being in control of the Data Warehousing and Data Governing. Senior Management, making the driving decisions, often is a primary customer of BI systems. So how is the best way to determine what’s the role of the ‘Business Intelligence Team’ and what is not?

This is something that I am currently struggling with. I’d like to create the said ‘God Team’, but it’s just not realistic. The objective is to maximize information use while minimizing overhead associated with the BI Team.

This is an open ended post, and am hoping to hear thoughts from others. I may also add follow-up posts to this one.




  1. I think that most systems billing themselves as ‘BI’ come with pre-packaged reports. These are built to specifically answer certain questions such as Days in A/R; Number of calls answered per person; number of times calls are transferred; cost per unit; etc.

    These are supposed to answer some of the most important questions your company needs answered. They are a great place to start.

    In my opinion looking at how to start the BI is a problem in defining all of the questions you want answered. Once you have the reports that answer those, you should be able to dig deeper to find root cause in problems. That should lead you to more questions that can be answered using BI.

    It’s a continually improving process – if it is done right.

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