Love and marriage go together like horse and carriage. This is a well known song made popular by Al Bundy back in the eighties when Business Intelligence (BI) was still known as the monthly sales report. Just like horse and carriage there is another relation. One that strongly influences the quality of your BI solutions. It is the relationship between business and IT. As in most relations there is one partner doing the demand and another taking care of the supply. So it is easy to imagine that business and IT are in some kind of relation or marriage if you will. However there are dark clouds appearing at the horizon.
IT is starting to fall back in their supply. The business, always wanting more, is suddenly confronted with less. In some cases the quality of the information is getting worse or the information is received too slow or even late. Business is getting frustrated because they want it now and they are not getting anything. The reason for this behavior by IT is explained best by the economic circumstances forcing the IT budgets down. The most easy and often made action, not the most smart one in my opinion, is to kill or at least minimize demand. So less BI projects are started and change request are not or slowly executed. The business is getting so frustrated by this lack of supply by their IT partner that they start to look for information elsewhere (google) or do it themselves. Enter the famous self service BI solutions. In the end it is fair to concluded that the relationship between IT and business is troubled. Time for relationship counseling.
In relationship counseling there are some models based on a letter of the alphabet that try to explain the nature of the relation. The capital letter V for example stand for a relationship where you once had the same expectations of your relation but you both headed in a different direction. This is the model that leads to explosion. Dishes flying everywhere and accusations like: “you don’t understand me”. Not a good model. There is also the X-model. Like ships passing in the night you briefly share something good but all too soon you both head in different directions. Also not a perfect model. The model that brings most benefits is the H-model. Both partners stay the way they are. There is always some give and take but overall both keep on doing what they like or what they are good at. However you need to make sure that both partners are still heading in the same direction. That is where the horizontal bar comes in. This line makes sure that both partners are aligned. They communicate together and work on their expectations of the relationship. Most of the time IT and Business has a different relationship or model. The BICC or COIE is based on a support model. There is some central organization, often within IT, that support the BI strategy, support the data, support the end user and so on. In this model both partners are trying to meet half way or even doing the other partners work. For example IT building business reports instead of focusing on getting the data available on time and of good quality. It is only when you organize your BI competences and services according to the H-model that the task and responsibilities of all parties involved are getting clear. If IT does what is does best and the same applies for business, while at the same time they organize their shared expectations in a BI solution center, their relation starts to sparkle again. To quote Barnett Brickner: “Success in marriage does not come merely through finding the right mate, but through being the right mate”.