As discussed last month, many programs are attempting to calculate the business value or return on investment from their business intelligence programs. What are you going to do if upper management asks you, "We are funding $X million for business intelligence per year - what is the company getting out of it?" Are you going to get out those accounting books or find an ROI spreadsheet? Not so fast.

While the vendor mergers and purchases are trying to tell us that business intelligence (BI) is a discrete entity, I'm not so sure that it is. I don't think we really know yet. I still think it's arbitrary and worthy of clarification at each company - actually, for each ROI. It's too much of a moving target. You must bind your analysis. You should not encompass returns (or investments) that are going to find their way onto other (non-BI) project ROIs. That would be over- (or under-) stating the overall ROI to the corporation.

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