Digitally empowered customers — both businesses and consumers — wield a huge influence on enterprise strategies, policies, and customer-facing and internal processes. With mobile devices, the Internet, and all-but-unlimited access to information about products, services, prices, and deals, customers are now well informed about companies and their products, and are able to quickly find alternatives and use peer pressure to drive change. But not all organizations have readily embraced this new paradigm shift, desperately clinging to rigid policies and inflexible business processes. A common thread running through the profile of most of the companies that are not succeeding in this new day and age is an inability to manage change successfully. Business agility — reacting to fast-changing business needs — is what enables businesses to thrive amid ever-accelerating market changes and dynamics.

What does business agility mean in pragmatic and actionable terms to sourcing and vendor management professionals (SVM) working on procuring BI professional services? In addition to the traditional vendor selection criteria such as breadth and depth of service offerings or experience and expertise in a particular industry or business domain, Forrester believes that it's now also about embracing Agile BI. Forrester's Agile BI concept is characterized by methodologies, processes, organizational structure, and technologies that enable decision-makers to be more flexible and responsive to the fast pace of business change. But most importantly, it's all about best practices, lessons learned, and many battle scars. Even if an organization's internal technology professionals have experience with several BI implementations, that's not nearly enough. Forrester believes that it's the realm of professional management consultants and systems integrators to accumulate thousands of such best practices, not just mere dozens. Then and only then can a professional services firm find implementation patterns and correlate them with successful versus failed BI initiatives.

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