Imagine it is 1610 and you are a Business Intelligence consultant. You are asked by the Management Team (Heeren 17 or Gentlemen 17) of the Vereenigde Oost-Indische Compagnie ( Dutch East India Company) to support their decision making process. That will be a tough job to do. For starters this was the first multinational corporation in the world and the first company to issue stock. So I would imagine that they needed financial reporting. What did we sell and where? How much profit did we make? What is our margin? But I can also imagine them making other strategic decisions. For example on fleet management. How many ships do we need and do we buy big, slow ones or small, fast ones? Another thing would be their product portfolio. Are we going into salt, pepper or tulips? Or what about Risk management? What is the chance we will run into pirates along the way to China or Indonesia? The data sources were limited. All you had to go on would be the ships journal or the bill of lading. Nowadays we have the opposite problem almost. We have almost unlimited data sources. The big questions is where the relevant information is hiding?
But there are more challenges on the journey towards becoming an intelligent enterprise. I have seen many clients who have invested in various BI technologies but have failed to get the value they expected out of their investments. This is often because they have not taken a holistic view to Business Information Management. For example they delivered the reports without getting the core data aligned and correct. We also talk to customers that have invested in various BI technologies and the sands have shifted and what they bought from one company is now owned by another and trying to understand what is the right way forward is difficult. So what do enterprise need to do to reorganize for success, lower costs, create faster time to information and become an information led company?
On a high level it all starts with a three staged approach. The first step is to create an information strategy. This can be done once you understand the value of information and how you can leverage it within your own company. The next step is to create an organization that owns the information strategy. This is what we call the BI Competence Center (BICC). Finally, you will need to industrialize your BI development and support in order to really deliver the information strategy. This is the BI Service Center (BISC).
Remember the Six million dollar man? A popular TV series from the eighties. Let me paraphrase their famous words. Gentlemen, we can rebuild BIM. We have the technology. Better than before. Better, faster, Cheaper.