Ventana Research defines business intelligence as the integration of data of any type transformed into meaningful information (structured and unstructured) through an iterative process for a particular business purpose (such as performance management). Although BI as a concept and technology is not new, most organizations do not fully understand it, adopt it effectively or utilize it as a business practice and process. The ultimate goal of BI is to provide individuals insight and visibility into business and operations and empower them to make effective decisions and receive action-improved performance.
Enabling BI inside organizations can appear simple but behind the scenes is a complex network of people, processes and systems. Synchronizing these three areas is critical to improving the success of BI initiatives. Optimizing the people element requires knowledge of the role and responsibilities of individuals. Understanding the connection of the individual's role, their reporting structure and involvement in various business processes (i.e., order to fulfillment) will provide the framework to link individuals back to clearly defined objectives and associated key performance indicators (KPIs). This people and process-based approach will help build a blueprint that links executive strategy, initiatives and goals to process and performance improvement requirements.
Unfortunately, technology is usually the first thing IT and business get enamored with. Our research has found significant desire to apply technology to achieve business results, but the important aspect of linking the people and processes is often overlooked, resulting in ineffective and under-adopted BI systems. Our research and strategic assessment work with organizations have found issues in the latency, context and usefulness of information that impedes individuals from making informed decisions and improving performance.
Ventana Research believes global organizations with a well-defined BI strategy will develop specific areas of competency to support BI including information management and integration management. The focus on information management will ensure that the life cycle (creation to usage) and process for managing information is well constructed to meet the business needs. The underlying integration management will then support application, data, event and information integration. Through an information and integration maturity model, organizations can advance their ability to much more rapidly meet the business requirements of BI. Rationalizing IT investments from a BI and information and integration perspective will build the foundation that management needs to enable performance management anywhere in the organization.
Organizations looking to gain a competitive advantage and leverage their business and IT resources effectively will need to build a BI program that leverages a strategy and process. By aligning people and processes through a process improvement approach, you can then perform an assessment of the current environment and determine recommendations for improvement. Only then will organizations find better business applicability and technology alignment in their BI investments. Ventana Research recommends organizations adopting BI from a business and IT perspective gain an executive sponsor and build a cross-functional approach. Employing these steps will accelerate the adoption and maturity of BI in the organization and increase the likelihood of success for BI initiatives.
Mark is responsible for the overall business and research direction of Ventana Research and drives the global research agenda covering both business and technology areas. He defined the blueprint and methodology for improving business by using benchmark research to provide guidance across people, processes, information and technology. Mark is an expert in enterprise software and business technology innovations including: business analytics, big data, cloud computing, business collaboration, mobile technology and social media. Mark has held CMO, research and product development roles at research and software companies. Mark started Ventana Research more than a decade ago; he has worked in the software industry for 25 years leading innovations in research and technology. Mark was rated the 2011 software industry analyst of the year by The Institute of Industry Analyst Relations (IIAR). Mark will also be ranked as one of the top ten technology influencers in 2012 by Human Resources Executive magazine. Check out Mark's Klout Score or check out his Kred Score. Mark can be found on Twitter at @marksmithvr, on LinkedIn, on Google+ and can be reached via email at email@example.com and read his blog at http://marksmith.ventanaresearch.com