Based on the Gartner report of 2010 which states that ‘Without business in business intelligence, BI is dead” this is not good news at all.
The report clearly demonstrates that
· 48% of business executives believed they were approached only when budgets were required and when IT wanted to hand over their BI deliverables to them. Some of them felt they were discouraged from participating in BI projects altogether either by executive instructions from the company project owner, or by instructions given by the System Integrator leadership.
· 22% felt that IT did not listen to them, even though they were the ones funding the BI initiatives. 18% of them felt that their IT created an environment where communications with business folks was considered a waste of time and resources resulting in more confusion than providing solutions.
· 18% felt that IT did not listen to their suggestions or recommendations.
The report also showed that only 12% of business stakeholders felt that they had a fair value representation in their own BI Initiatives, where they were treated as solution partners. However, they also reported that only 55% of their contributions were valued by the executive management.
The report demonstrated that the quality and trust between IT and Business, specifically in BI projects, is not good , and the latter felt they were not listened to nor leveraged in order to provide the final BI solutions.
Among reasons for lack of satisfaction with their IT counterparts were (a) BI team members taking months to deliver critical reports; (b) IT consistently delivering incomplete reports and analytics that took months to fix and make useable; (c) IT individuals or groups dominating discussions by using technical jargon; (d) insufficient attention to business needs and expectations resulting in delivery of unusable reports; (e) lack of preparation by IT folks resulting in inadequate deliverables.(f) and IT version of COE/COC that had nothing to do with building excellence and with no business participation.
Board members are reportedly doing little to improve the quality of communications or the interaction between these two groups, with only 18% of participants discussing ways to improve this relationship and 82% rarely or never addressed the issue.
At the same time more than 87% of IT stakeholders in BI projects, i.e. BI Managers, BI Business Area Owners, Developers and other IT stakeholders, of over 250 companies audited feel that they too are undervalued on the BI Decision table, according to the same survey carried out by BI Valuenomics in 2010-12.
At a high level 78% of IT executives believed including business in BI decisions was not a good idea. Business participation created an avalanche of unnecessary distractions that increased time and budgets disproportionally. In 26% of the BI project IT recommended their developers not talk directly to business folks, but let them come via approved channels only. Direct contact created a lot of unnecessary development confusion with business users walking up to developers and demanding changes by throwing executive names and threats. 68% of the IT resources felt that business did not really know what they wanted and thus put them into an endless look of ‘deliver this and then change that’ process.
The report clearly demonstrates that:
· 72% felt that business did not follow the process and protocol of filling and signing a ‘Functional Spec’ prior to requesting creation of a report. Sometime they simply sent an email or made a telephone call and started their times for a report request. Development is not supposed to start until the functional spec is signed off and business rarely signs off the functional spec, often expecting the developers to fill them.
· 62% felt that management must play a stronger role in mandating the following of established processes. However, 68% said they had no formal process in place.
· 56% of IT folks felt that business did not play the game fairly by throwing names, demanding changes without a change request and creating confusions where none should exist. This often resulted in tempers where they had to work overtime and during weekends to meet business expectations.
· 32% said that due to lack of planning business would often give them a request on Monday that they delivered by Thursday only to have it rejected and with new instructions by next Monday and this could go on for 2 to 3 months of frustrations on both sides.
· 81% felt that business did not understand the amount of work that IT did for them
The report also showed that only 127% of IT stakeholders felt that they had a fair value representation in their own BI Initiatives, where they were treated as solution providers. However, they also reported that only 45% of their contributions were valued by the executive management.
The report reaffirmed that the quality and trust between IT and Business, specifically in BI projects, is not good , and the former equally felt they were not being being dragged into a process-less world by overactive business bearcats.
Among reasons for lack of satisfaction with their Business counterparts were (a) Business not knowing what they wanted and constantly changin specifications without change process; (b) Business never formally writing functional specs, or signing them off, and thinking a call for a report request constituted deliverables; (c) Business frequently walking in at 5pm and demanding change to a critical report by next morning for a senior management executive (d) insufficient empathy to development process, standards and the developers in the process of delivering reports and analytics; (e) lack of preparation by business folks resulting in inadequate deliverables.
The ‘Feeling Neglected’ is endemic on both sides according to the report. So who is wrong.
Actually it is the management that is in error in these companies. They must commence, if they don’t already have, the documentation of a ‘Global BI Cookbook’ with clear standards, processes and other BI details.
In order to resolve a lot of the above issues companies need to initiate a ‘BI-OnTrack’ workshop and build a ‘BI Process Handbook’ based on clear SIPOC handovers. This must then be communicated to business and IT folks with a formal signoff.
This can be turned around from the current sputtering team into a well-oiled machine in a matter of 2 to 4 weeks only. This is not an assumption as I have done this with a company recently.
The key is in establishing ‘The Scientific Principles of Information Delivery’ – my new book due for publishing in Q3 of 2012.