Software // Information Management
Commentary
5/6/2004
12:08 PM
Ted Kemp
Ted Kemp
Commentary
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More Data Means More Standardized BI

Typically, business intelligence projects are ad hoc affairs, with IT teams working on a specific initiative using a new data warehouse and a dedicated reporting tool. That's going to change.

Typically, business intelligence projects are ad hoc affairs, with IT teams working on a specific initiative using a new data warehouse and a dedicated reporting tool. That's going to change.

Companies have begun to take a more strategic approach to BI, standardizing on fewer BI applications and making them more uniformly available to the entire enterprise. Companies are also dedicating IT staff to BI management to ensure quality and compatibility from one BI project to the next.

BI's growing ubiquity is a result of strategic thinkers' growing recognition that business data is a core asset. As this recognition grows, so will the need to centralize and standardize business intelligence practices. The drive to remain efficient and control costs demands it.

Hey, it's not like the amount of data out there is shrinking. On the contrary, it's exploding. Its continued growth is natural extension technology's central role in more and more business processes. Where apparel merchandisers once picked next season's fashions using their gut instincts, now software helps them. Where warehouse personnel once did their jobs using personal knowledge of what's stored where, they're now directed from task to task wirelessly. Where field sales staff once memorized customers' needs and pitched products accordingly, they're now tapping centrally managed customer sales histories to guide their thinking.

Enterprises are already mining a lot of their data for competitive advantage, and they're going to mine more of it. They're trying to gain a better understanding of their data -- trying to crack open the advantages hidden inside -- and they're going to use business intelligence tools and practices to do so. So will their competitors.

As BI becomes more ubiquitous, it has to become more consolidated, centrally managed and uniform within companies. We're seeing a handful of smart companies pioneer this route now. We'll see more. It's inevitable, as BI evolves from a set of project-specific luxuries into an enterprise-wide competitive necessity.

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