Business Intelligence X-Ray – Calibrating Your BI Infrastructure: Part 1

Posted by Karthikeyan Sankaran
July 13th, 2009

Peter Drucker proposed the concept of a Business X-ray in his famous book “Managing for Results” with the notion to analyze the current state of the business before taking any action (across products, markets and distribution channels) to make the business better. Similar to that notion is the concept of “Business Intelligence X-Ray”.

In one of my earlier blogs titled “Business Intelligence Value Curve”, I discussed the inevitability of reinventing the BI landscape at periodic intervals. The reasons are both business and technology related. Having said that, reinventing does not mean, “throw out everything you have and start from scratch”. Re-inventing, at-least in the context of this blog, is to look at new ways of providing BI solutions to stakeholders in an organization. The motivation to reinvent can be many and this post assumes that the organization has already felt the need to reinvent (or reorient) and it is now only a matter of “How to do it?”

The first step to reinventing your BI program is to calibrate the current state of the BI landscape. Though many organizations do this in many different ways, we at Hexaware, use 2 major tools, perfected over a period of time. They are:

  • BI Profiling Questionnaire – This measures the customer propensity and necessity to reinvent.
  • 10 Point Framework – This is a detailed framework that looks at the current landscape from 10 different dimensions (viz. Sources, ETL, Reporting, Security, Metadata etc.) and provides a health sheet on the current state.

These 2 tools put together constitute the Business Intelligence X-Ray for any organization. With this, the organization has a good feel for where they currently are (Point A). Point B, where you want to go, is basically a menu of items straddling the entire spectrum of possibilities (viz. Platform migration, Consolidation, EII, Data mining, Simulations, Complex Event Processing, Customer Experience Analytics, Cloud Analytics, DW Appliances etc.).

Part 2 of this blog topic will cover the 10 Point Framework and Part 3 will categorize the menu of BI re-invention possibilities for organizations.

The focus of this post is on the first part of the Business Intelligence X-Ray which is the Profiling Questionnaire. This questionnaire at this stage of evolution has a set of 30 questions and covers the following areas:

  • Business Process
  • BI Architecture
  • Data
  • Analytics or Knowledge
  • Decisioning

This questionnaire is answered through a focused workshop which involves all the key BI stakeholders and provides the first view of current state BI landscape. This workshop is followed by an education session on those new areas within BI that are relevant for the organization. The other outcome of the workshop is a consulting engagement using the 10 Point Framework that analyzes the technology landscape in lot more detail.

I will discuss the other parts of the Business Intelligence X-Ray in my subsequent posts. Thanks for reading. Please do send in your thoughts.

If you are interested in this topic, please do attend the TDWI webinar on July 28th titled “Reinventing Your BI Program” in which I (on behalf of Hexaware) will be speaking along-side Nancy Williams (from DecisionPath Consulting) on this topic.Register here to book your slot

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