Business Intelligence Requires Thinking . . . Not Technology


John McEnroe, arguing with umpire. Champions C...
Image via Wikipedia

Looking at some LinkedIn conversations I find a discussion around business intelligence.  IBM apparently has maturity levels for being intelligent as they strive to sell more software.  And of course, if you are to mature in intelligence it requires (you guessed it) hardware and software.

Here are the levels shared (assumed from IBM):

1. Data to run the business – Basic spreadsheet reporting and information overload.

2. Information to Manage the Business – Basic queries, reports and analytics.

3. Information as a strategic asset – Introduction of role-based and contextual work environments. Business performance management has been integrated. Insights from analytics are made in real time.

4. Information to enable innovation – Role-based work environment. Fully embedded analytical capabilities within processes and systems. Analytics used for foresights and predictive analysis.

5. Information as competitive differentiator – Flexible and adaptive business environments across the enterprise. Business performance and operation are optimized. Analytics gives strategic insights. All relevant internal and external information are seamless and shared.

So there it is, what you need to be intelligent. 

This is a command and control manager’s dream.  I can hear executives now saying things like “I’m a 4″ or “Once we get the new $7 million system in we will be a 4.5 on the maturity scale.”  In the words of John McEnroe . . . “You can’t be serious!”

The divide between knowledge and information/data is so large that you can fit a new Super WalMart between it.  The appeal of better decision-making with data perpetuates both poor thinking and work design.  No matter how “intelligent” your software is better decision-making through more data is ludicrous.

But like bugs to a light managers love the lure of technology to make them “more intelligent.”  Costs, productivity, revenue split 60 different ways numbers can not replace the knowledge and context you get by going to the points of transaction where you customers and front-line people reside.

In my world we reference this as performing check or getting knowledge of the what and why of current performance.  There has rarely been a moment when I take an executive to the work and they say “Wow, that isn’t what the report said.”  Entrapping technology can do that to you it leads to assumptions and assumptions lead to poor decisions.

If you need to make better decisions (and who doesn’t need that?), go to the work and get knowledge because there are some things you just need to hear and understand that technology can’t give you.  Oh and it will save you money too.

Leave me a comment. . . share your opinion!  Click on comments below.

Make the new decade a profitable and rewarding one, start a new path here.  Download free from “Understanding Your Organization as a System” and gain knowledge of systems thinking or contact us about how to get started at [email protected].  Reach him on Twitter at LinkedIn at

Enhanced by Zemanta
Share This: