Stop! Before you invest even 10 minutes of your precious time reading this blog, please make sure it's really business intelligence (BI) governance, and not data governance best practices, that you are looking for. BI governance is a key component of data governance, but they're not the same. Data governance deals with the entire spectrum (creation, transformation, ownership, etc.) of people, processes, policies, and technologies that manage and govern an enterprise's use of its data assets (such as data governance stewardship applications, master data management, metadata management, and data quality).  On the other hand, BI governance only deals with who uses the data, when, and how.

Why is BI governance key to agile BI success? The ongoing quest for business agility continues to pay off. Forrester sees a direct correlation between overall business performance (as measured by year-over-year growth) and agile business models. Business analysts, managers, and all enterprise knowledge workers as well as BI pros contribute their share by deploying and practicing Agile BI. But here's a dilemma: On the one hand, hardened technology-management-centric BI deployments can be governed and controlled, but they are not agile. On the other hand, business-user-centric Agile self-service BI is much more flexible and responsive to ever-changing age-of-the-customer requirements, but it's hard to govern.

Over the last year, Forrester clients began expressing concerns that Agile BI applications were multiplying like rabbits and proliferating "shadow IT" environments. Except now these shadow IT BI apps are not based on spreadsheets but on a new breed of Agile BI tools. Can one have one's cake (hardened BI) and eat it too (Agile BI)? Forrester thinks so, and we see the answer to the challenge in carving out a special new role for BI governance.

Don't assume that BI governance is mostly about controlling and restricting access to data and BI content. No! Tightening the screws will only make business users go back to spreadsheets. Rather, check out the latest Forrester report which defines BI governance as a "doveryai, no proveryai" ("trust, but verify") approach based on five steps: monitor, inform, enhance, harden and rearchitect.

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