User Agility or IT Control? Reconciling the BI Dilemma

Author: | Category: Industry Trends | Tags: visualizing, analytics,big data, BI, Business Intelligence | Published: 6/15/2015

User Agility or IT Control? Reconciling the BI Dilemma

Directing a BI program can be daunting

The job of analyzing and visualizing business information is undergoing disruption as the IT and business functions grapple to stay ahead of company demands. At the same time, BI decision makers juggle complexities to run their programs:

  • Deadlines
  • User demands
  • Pressure for adoption and results
  • Architecture and organizational models
  • Governance and security
  • Practical use for latest technologies
  • Discerning among hyped vendors

All these challenges can create noise and muffle efforts. Worse: the majority of existing tools will not address such pressures in a holistic fashion.

Some tools force compromise: agility or governance?

Leaders of BI initiatives have become weary of commonly-known tools that forced unwelcome compromise between governance and agility, between simplicity and sophistication, between consistency and broad usage.

At one time, investments in outdated, IT-centric, mega-vendor tools forced an overly centralized and rigid approach at the expense of ease of use, autonomy, and response time.

Then came lightweight desktop tools, pushed by small pockets of end-users, which addressed personal productivity, but fizzled for their limitations in conducting and sharing sophisticated analysis. Without a unified framework, these marketing-hyped tools result in data silos and general mayhem. They often impose proprietary methods and lack the necessary enterprise features for governance, administration, security, and scalability.

These polarized tool camps aggravate the perceived tension between IT’s and business function’s interests and the unnecessary dilemma of protecting and vetting data versus sharing self-served analytics.

Governed data and analytics shapes a new BI era

The term “governance” once had a connotation of “control” to some degree. Now, however, its context is more inviting, as organizations explore Governed Data Discovery to reconcile seemingly asymmetric needs from IT and business units. However, when it comes to governance, most BI tools still have a narrow scope, with capabilities restricted to data security and access control – or attempts at that.

A more holistic approach should encompass not just data governance but also governed analytics. The difference? Not only ensure data integrity and privacy, but also drive meaningful, contextual, and collaborative analytics – reconciling IT and business goals. End users can self-serve to prepare and analyze data models, while IT secures mission-critical data, and ensures that it’s properly distributed.

As users uncover new logic and insights with broad value for the business, the IT and business functions can bring that value within the governance framework, pre-empting data silos. Individual or team solutions then become division or enterprise solutions.

Re-master BI, re-establish harmony

Despite seemingly asymmetric needs for agility and control, business areas and IT, equipped with a turnkey BI platform, can pursue congruent priorities:

  • Develop the BI program demonstrating broad adoption, ROI, and tangible impact on business results.
  • Meet users’ growing demand for prompt and self-served ability to conduct complex analysis.
  • Establish the necessary organization, technology, and processes for data and analytics governance.
  • Reconcile technology investments into a standard platform to drive scalability and combat data silos.

Original Article:

Related Resources

These resources can help as you decide on a BI platform that reconciles the need for agility and governance, and for re-establishing harmony between the IT and business functions:

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