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BI-the Backend Power of Organizational Success

By CIOReview | Wednesday, May 24, 2017

Business intelligence (BI) plays a key role in the strategic planning process within an organization or an enterprise. It holds a prime position as an enabler of profitable actions underpinned by BI around customer service, delivering best-in-class customer experience and support, churning out trends through detailed market research, statistical analysis and many more. Right from gathering relevant information, source system identification and connectivity, and framing data definitions to writing BI policies and procedures for steering committee approval, and overseeing the implementation of approved projects—BI is a pivotal part of any operational workflows. The BI teams also assure that the promised benefits of BI projects are achieved in addition to reporting every detail of BI programs and its progress to the management.

The key roles and responsibilities are broadly classified into two—program and project. In any given organization, the BI program team is responsible for the creation of a robust foundation which also provides business continuity. The team also holds key to ensure business standards by defining data and tools standards that decides upon the best possible methods for data acquisition and preparation, data modeling, management of metadata and analytics. The BI program teams also coordinate development schedules, business activities and assignment of staff for various roles also defining gainful methods and techniques for all teams. Further, beyond just selecting the fit-to-purpose tools and solutions, the team offer suggestions on best practices and real-time support to the project teams—ensuring uninterrupted operations and consistency across projects. In a nutshell, program teams define the overall corporate data model and organizational structure including roles, responsibilities, accountabilities and authorities. Above all, the BI program team establishes training programs for business users and employees.

A BI program team consists of many key executives starting with the program manager. Right from setting direction, guiding planning processes all through to developing vision and business rationale to establishing the overall approach, the program manager is the premier advocate of business intelligence. Monitoring latest industry trends and identifying emerging technologies to be adopted for better productivity and throughputs and analyzing his/her company’s competitive position in the industry to compare with the top performers are among the prime duty of any BI program manager. On the other hand the BI data architect and BI ETL architect manages and develops the entire framework of data, its utilization, future needs, and determining the optimal approach for obtaining data from multifarious sources and moving it to the BI repository. To bring all the above-mentioned processes into action, the BI Technical Architect constructs the entire BI environment—that best suits their business types.

Adjoining the BI program team, the project team executes the program team’s strategy within the context of each project release. They are the performers of all actions proposed by the program team. This includes performing analysis of detailed source system, implementing data acquisition and preparation techniques, and distribution of analytics, decision and support systems. On a usual practice, the project teams are either staffed internally or outsourced to external solution providers. It is critical that the project teams, irrespective of whether internal or external, to coordinate with the BI program team for the best business outcomes. 

Bottom Line

All along the history of BI landscape, the best possible outcomes are delivered by organizations that simultaneously focused on both program tasks and the project tasks without fail. The composition of a BI team has always been a crucial element for success. Usually, successful outcomes are mostly delivered by small teams following shorter workflow cycles. This is mainly because business users and stakeholders can provide feedback along each point of progress, without having to wait for long development cycles to get over and then make changes—a work done earlier is always a burden less at the endpoint.