Business Intelligence

The BI Mountain: You Don’t Need to Climb it Just Because it’s There


The further we go down the winding road of business intelligence, the further away from the key objective many of us get. Someone once said, “The further I go, the less I know.” That sentiment in a lot of ways is very relatable to the field of business intelligence right now. But why?

A lot of it has to do with wielding profound power for the first time. By having all kinds of new information at your fingertips that you have never been privy to before, or at least previously in a much more limited fashion, you may get a little drunk with power and wind up in a time suck not unlike the intern down the hall cruising Facebook. Business managers facing analytics dashboards for the first time may find themselves caught in a maze of delight—“It’s everything I ever dreamed of, and it’s all right here!” he or she may marvel. But all marvels aside, this is not Mount Everest—you don’t need to climb it just because it’s there.

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So the unsolicited advice goes a little something like this: Keep your honeymoon period with the new tech toys limited, and when you’re just messing around on a dashboard or in a cloud, try to do it during your off time. It doesn’t mean take your work home, it means if it’s fun for you, then have fun, but when it comes time to make this intelligence create results, no more sappy honeymoon, you need to know how to stay focused on exactly what you need to accomplish. For example, if a project calls for you to determine how cost of goods can be reduced, don’t go getting lost in data about distributor management unless it directly correlates to the objective at hand.

Stay focused and ask for help. Don’t waste time trying to understand something that you just plainly don’t know about. Seek out the advice of your analytics and/or IT team, and if you don’t have one, farming out the job will be the best choice—you don’t want your learning curve getting in the way of creating timely results. Time is money as they say, and the bottom line comes down to lucid production of data analysis that ultimately delivers a solution to make more money as quickly as possible.


Even if you need to put it on a post-it note, you have to somehow continually remind yourself that in the end, the information gathered and your use of the analysis and business intelligence has to be focused on results. Think of it like this: In real estate they say the most important thing is location, location, location. When it comes to using business intelligence to define the parameters of a project and to answer a question, the question must be specific, and the most important thing is results, results, results.

Be willing to step down if you’re not the person for the job—the idea is to create results, and if looking good is important to you, then be the guy who looks great by selecting the right subcontractor to handle the job. Making more money is more important than looking smart, and you can still be a hero during presentation time. When it comes to using business intelligence to create results for your company, time is of the essence. So, you can still play with the dashboard, but you might want to let someone else drive.

Images via: Domo

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