Business intelligence needs CFO, COO support to be agile: Gartner

Business intelligence needs CFO, COO support to be agile: Gartner

Chief financial officers initiating 20 per cent of competency centres

Having the entire management team on side is vital to ensuring that agile business intelligence (BI) standards are met.

Speaking at the Gartner BI Summit in Sydney today, analyst James Richardson said CIOs are only one piece of the puzzle when it comes to ensuring the success of plans.

“Most plans for BICCs [Business Intelligence Competency Centres] are being reported to CIOs but if this is going to survive, the CFO has to be the next place to go, with 20 per cent of centres being initiated by the CFO,” he said.

“If the CFOs only care about reporting numbers, they aren’t going to help BI from a functional point of view.”

Richardson said the next step in the creation of BICCs is for relevant IT teams to receive approval from other managerial functions across the business.

“We do see a lot of organisations where the business head is in charge of the centre as a whole,” he said. “...but the general path [for approval of BICC projects] is CIO to CFO and to the COO over time.”

Richardson also said that the support of team members was crucial to the effectiveness of BI projects.

“You need at least one sponsor with the power to sign something off,” he said.

Richardson said that the gap between IT and its impact must be reduced, and that having approval across a number of business functions was one way of minimising this gap.

“Business people and developers must work together to make sure the gap between IT and the business is reduced,” he said.

For CIOs implementing such projects, Richardson warned that creating an agile environment does not necessarily equate to agile BI solutions being implemented.

“BI is the art of trying to hit a moving target,” he said. “About half of BI requirements change in the first year of a BI project.”

“Agile methods don’t guarantee BI agility; they just mean you’ll be a bit better off than you were before.”

As well as trying to keep up with changing requirements, implementing agile BI will prove difficult, according to Richardson, who said the diversity of employees provides a challenge.

“The single biggest difference is that these are customers and providers and software developers working together,” he said.

In assessing if agile BI lived up to the hype, Richardson said CIOs who viewed it as a silver bullet would be disappointed.

‘“Is agile BI the silver bullet we need?” he said. “...It’s tempting to think so and it has been positioned that way by a number of software and service providers and there’s been a lot of heat in the industry around that."

Follow Lisa Banks on Twitter: @CapricaStar

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Tags business intelligence (BI)James RichardsonGartner BI Summit 2011Business Intelligence Competency Centres (BICCs)

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