Increase big data business value with a strong BI team

Published August 11, 2013   |   
Wayne Eckerson

While big data has entered the mainstream and gets airtime on network news shows, the people who manage data and deliver insights are enjoying no new celebrity or fame. In many organizations, they’ve become nearly invisible.

I’m talking about business intelligence and data warehousing teams. Although Hadoop and NoSQL are sexy and new, the bread and butter of big data still is — and in many cases will always be — served up by the BI team.

So why do so many teams today remain powerless to move BI forward? In most cases, it’s a lack of vision and resources.

Most companies today view BI managers as glorified report writers. Executives consider the team a tactical resource that provides basic information required to keep the lights on. They don’t see it as a strategic partner that can advise on leveraging information and innovative technologyto get closer to customers, streamline business processes or evaluate the business impact of a new initiative.

These same execs might say things like “Data is a corporate asset” and “We are a data-driven company.” Of course, talk is cheap; real action is hard and usually costs money. When it comes to BI and data warehousing, most executives spend just enough to keep a program limping along but not enough to make a difference.

So how can a BI team change this state of affairs and weave itself into the fabric of the business? Here are 10 things you can do to tweak executives’ perceptions and turn BI and data warehousing from a tactical resource into a strategic asset.

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