Jan 30, 2012

Build a Stellar BI Career with BVA

For the last 4 years I have been seemingly hanging around in the wrong places. I’ve had questionable privilidge of overhearing more than my share of very serious technocratic conversations – that basically want to keep business out of anything to do with business intelligence.

Reminds me of Alex Paleologoes in DSAP ‘Most BI Initiative have two critical components missing, the first is business and the second intelligence’. That is a pure ‘Been there, Dumb that’ statement if there is one.  It also resonates with the earlier Gartner statement that ‘more than 50% of BI Projects will fail’ and ‘BI Strategy, No Thanks we will follow our noses’

So we need to review our executive motivators and shakers of the business world. An boy, have they been consistent for almost the last decade following the Einstein guideline on ‘“Insanity: doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.”

So here’s my tiny hypothesis that has been slowly but steadily formulating in my head. Maybe the great financial crashes we have been having is not totally due to mega morons in the financial segment but due to how we handle data quality and information generation. On one side we have no way of verifying whether the statement’ iraq has weapons of mass destruction’ other than by subjective interpretations. Secondly if the government is as successful as the free corporate market, which they rarely are then less than 50% of their information is owrth reacting to. This has also been rocking the business ownership and accountability quotient with some of the Fortune 1000 companies.

So in comes this BVA thingie, or business value attainment concept. It suddenly took BI projects from languishing in the low to mid 40% success to zooming parst the 90 percentile.

A few of the fortune 1000 corporations, over 1 at current count, have now made BI Valuenomics as a standard business handout. Most of these companies have witnessed a quiet revolution and higher success rates in their BI deployments. This worked for Oracle DW’s, Teradata, and ofcourse for BusinessObjects and SAP BW projects.

CIO’s do not have to make supermodel statements like ‘there’s got to be more than this’ when implementing their BI projects. Its now time to get surgically serious and blast the hell out of failure with sceintific and surgical precision – based on empirical scientific principles.

Lets start with 3 questions you need to ask yourself, and possibly have an answer for all three

How succssful is my BI right now? Ponder this for a moment: This should be a simple enough answer but it is mired in the lack of any scientific BI Body Scans. If execituives look around we find business users hyperventaliting in frustation on one side and IN living their lives sweating, suffering, and slogging mightily over stuff that's forgotten by next quarter, let alone next year or next five years. Call me crazy, but I'd suggest: BVA means building stuff that's awesome enough to last. Information does not last forever like the pyramids of Egypt – but surely they must last 10 weeks after go-live.   It seems that ‘98% of BI Projects are declared successful in Week 1, and less than 50% remain so by week 10’

Does it stand the test of business expectations ? In most project rooms the stakes are all about time, budget, resources and scope. When do you last remember seeing a graph on the wall for ‘Meet business expectations – I can assure never unless you were in one of my handful projects. Standard PMP, PMI, PMS methodologies are the perfect recepie for mediocrity, to have met the Gartner average score, to become McMiinimum, to having once again shattered the glass floor. Technocratic BI is something of the last century. Today it is all about the scientific principles of BVA.

Does it actual meet your personal requirement? On one side executives are willing to take protocol decisions, sign off BI contracts, issue protocol orders – all of it very exciting stuff happening in the ivory towers of most corporate offices. But when the tide runs out and the BI projects become an embarrassment commence on a path of taking protocl decisions indicating its someone else’s’ fault, ask someone else to sign unplanned projects to meet the pending business expectations, and issue protocol orders to replace all the folks and evidence- all exciting stuff again. The question is  whther all these flashy values’ and protocol decision truly have the executive ethics and personal support. In most cases the answer is no. Like in 2007 I witnessed a truly great sales prson, and a partner to the CFO sell 4,500 reports and 4000 objects in a $13 million project to a VP with a real bad attitude and equally bad manners at a monolithic US corporation. The VP lived, The Sales person vacationed in his Golf Chalet and the project manager and teams were terminated under disgraceful conditions. Its like blaming the elephant for coming in front of the hunters gun and freeing the hunter altogether. There is a seductive enchantment to being the untouchables, to taking decisions in isolation of personal knowledge, to giving orders and not taking any, and to be perfectly clean like mercury even as someone tries to press their thumb down to hold it is place. But corporate success does not come from cool-misuse-of-power. It comes from consistent success and repeated standards and processes.

 With BVA we tread a scientific roadmap that has constant checks and balances and takes us away from being humans in powerful positions to being a scientifically engineered cog in a complex machine called a corporation

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