How to Go from Delivering BI to Being Data Driven

If you participate in enough BI groups, you’ll see one question come up time and again: Why do so many BI efforts fail?  A lot of time it’s not failure in development, but in the implementation.  Let’s face it – too often these systems get built, but not used.  For years I’ve written about the key to BI usage: making sure that the BI system enables some new business process.

Well, a recent client in New York has a great approach to ensuring that his new BI system gets used.  This senior manager has a set of subordinates reporting to him.  He’s a very data-savvy guy and wants his folks to be data driven, rather than flying by the seats of their pants.

So, when his new BI system became available, he sat down with his managers and required each of them to pick two charts that they would review with him at their monthly meetings.  These charts, of course, are built around key metrics and dimensions.  Thus, in order to optimize their performance, the managers must keep their eyes on these metrics.

With this approach, this senior manager shows that he fully supports the BI system, while pushing the cultural changes necessary to be data driven.  In this way, he will also make sure his organization gets the ROI it expects.

My Recommendation

Do you believe in being data driven?  Do you believe in your BI system?  Prove it!  Don’t passively hope that your folks will use your new BI toys.  Require them to make BI a key part of how work gets done.

Want to kick around some ideas?  Drop me a line at

— Ben

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