Why BI Development Should Reside in the Business and Not in IT – Continued

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Last time, I talked about common objections to moving BI development out of IT. In this blog, I’ll give some reasons why BI development works better in the business, along with some tips for success.

For 12 years of my career I was entrenched in heavy IT processes (some appropriate, some misplaced) that were designed to mitigate risk and ensure quality products. Then I went to an organization where for the first time I wasn’t in IT doing development. It was definitely a shift in thinking after so many years following IT processes and going through extensive system audits. However, after some time of being on the business side doing development, I came to appreciate and realize how impactful BI development was when it was housed on the business side. Here are some of the key reasons why BI development works better in the business:

  1. Streamlined processes – IT processes often involve several handoffs between business analysts, developers, testers, and so on that can lead to one big game of telephone, whereas embedding BI development in the business cuts down on handoffs and allows for timeliness in delivery and the ability to quickly get things done.
  2. Business owner engagement – BI development resources teamed up with business owners leads to greater ownership by the business and a higher-quality end product.
  3. Better BI Project Prioritization – BI projects that are aligned with organizational strategies allow for a prioritization process that results in enhanced performance improvement and the ability to achieve organizational goals.

I have seen BI solutions be effective with great success in organizations on the business side. Here are some key tips to make a good idea even more successful:

  • Pursue lean standard processes with quality results – With BI Development residing outside of IT, a process should still be followed to ensure quality solutions are implemented into production and can be trusted by the customers. One example of a lean process I have found to work well is allowing BI developers to deploy solutions into production without having to wait on system administrators. They would still follow a production checklist and deployment process to ensure quality isn’t jeopardized, but this allows for much quicker time to delivery.
  • Employ agile development for timely delivery – Agile development allows for time-boxing deliverables into short time periods in order to get iterative solutions into the hands of the customers quickly for instant feedback and enhancement.
  • Share roles and responsibilities to engage and gain efficiencies– For each development project, the tasks and responsibilities should be shared between the business owners and BI developers. For example the business owner of the project is responsible for defining the metrics and testing the solution. This allows the right expertise to be leveraged for the right tasks, streamlining resources for projects, and engaging and embedding the business users into the process for ownership and success of the solution.

Hopefully these past few blogs helped provide some insight into the value of having BI development occur in the business as opposed to in IT. This approach best provides executives, leaders, front-line staff, and analysts with BI solutions containing meaningful information so they can make informed decisions and gain insights in a timely manner. It also enables organizations to move forward, identifying the key areas of opportunity quickly that ultimately lead to improving organizational performance across all facets of the business.

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Jennifer Schugel

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