Executive oversight and support, which I described in last month's column in DM Review, is a cornerstone of an effective business intelligence (BI) program. In this month's column, I will delve into another aspect of governance - direction setting. BI continuously evolves, and a direction set a few years ago may not be appropriate today.During the last few years, we have seen companies incorporate operational decision support into their BI environments. Enterprise information integration (EII) and enterprise application integration (EAI) technologies are integral to many BI programs. With changes such as these, the mission statement and guiding principles that were set as little as two or three years ago may no longer be germane. For example, one company's mission statement is that "BI provides a business view of the right information at the right time, in the right place and in the right form." If the company is applying BI for business process management, this statement still applies, but it doesn't encompass the operational nature of the new applications. The company should revisit this statement to make it more applicable. The company may totally rewrite it or may simply append it with "to support operational, tactical and strategic reporting and analysis needs." This simple addition emphasizes the shift from traditional strategic emphasis to today's applications.

Guiding principles, which are statements that drive practices within BI, are more specific. They may address areas such as architecture, access, quality, metadata, methodology, sharability, stewardship, timeliness and tools. Each statement should provide appropriate guidance, and information should be available to help people understand why it is important to follow the principle and what it means to the way they perform their jobs. Following are sample guiding principles:

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