Cindi Howson on Best Practices for BI Success
David Dunham posts this from Las Vegas during Tableau Customer Conference 2011:
Cindi Howson is the founder of BI Scorecard and a thought leader in business intelligence. She's been a Tableau user since 2007.
Cindi's best practices:
- Measure success: 5% of BI initiatives were failures in 2011! Business people rate success higher than IT people.
The ultimate measure of success: what have you done to improve the business performance? Operational Efficiency is the #1 measure. Very few people do a ROI. "I think everyone should be doing an ROI." But how much credit do you give to BI? It's a precise number with imprecise inputs. At the least, come up with anecdotes.
- Understand and exploit the LOFT effect: Luck, Opportunity, Frustration, Threat. You should look for opportunities and pain points so you can exploit this proactively.
- Garner executive support: CEO and COO are most effective. CIO is least effective. Demonstrate continuous success to the executive sponsors. Recognize the power of iPad with executives.
- Ensure a solid data foundation. A BI application is only as good as the underlying data. Data is nothing without a powerful BI tool. You can never assume that all the data is in one place in a data warehouse — Tableau’s data blending feature is one of the more significant improvements in Tableau recently.
- Balance enterprise vs departmental BI (who controls what). Decentralize security administration (who gets to see what).
- Foster the IT-Business partnership. IT and business do have different Meyers-Briggs profiles. A hybrid person can help. You may need to cross-train to get this person. Also, realize that IT is not incented to take risks.
- Relevance: BI should be proactive, don't just wait for people to ask for reports. Seattle Children's took IT people into the Operating Room to see how information could help there.
- Choose the right tools for right users (with appropriate self service). Ad hoc query tools are typically the most successful.