In a world without information, nothing will really change. We try and take our chances and choose one option or another, just based on what we see, taste, hear, and the emotions we feel. But this wild guessing, based on gut feelings, will lead us nowhere, at least not to a better life, business, or world. Because we have no information, and we don’t know what’s good for us or our business. We act like headless chickens and are completely biased. And, believe me, a lot of companies still are run that way.
Celebrating victories with good data
When we put this the other way around: in a world with (good) information, everything will change. Our decisions and actions are guided by good data, we learn on the go and acquire new knowledge of how things work and don’t work, quicker than ever before. We will quickly learn from our mistakes (because of instant feedback from the data) and we’ll be happily celebrating our victories.
Such worlds don’t exist
What can we conclude from these two opposite worlds? Nothing, because such worlds don’t exist – neither the world without any information, nor the world stuffed with the right information. What doesn’t exist can’t generate data. And without data we aren’t able to extract information. But that’s just a small joke. We can actually learn a lot from it. As black makes white possible and good can’t exist without evil, we say: there is no such thing as Business Intelligence without change management.
No good in either area
If we equal Business Intelligence with Change Management, we might not do any good in either area. I think a lot of BI experts are getting angry (correct me if I’m wrong) because they believe their Business Intelligence Tools, like Tableau and Cognos Analytics, can change the world on its own. Just combine the right data and visualize it in a proper way, and they think the job is done. Believers of change management will dispute this theory because they believe change doesn’t have to be governed by data and facts. So, why write this article?
Business Intelligence = Change Management
One of the final candidates of the Dutch Business Intelligence Awards 2015 was auditioning for the jury (of which I am a member). He said: BI = change management. And that is quite a statement; if you want to get a lot of people in a heated, just say that, preferably without any explanation. But, I think, it should be said that way: Business Intelligence = Change Management. Take it or leave it. And, perhaps more importantly, to all the professional change managers and advisors to the board I would like to say: Change Management = Business Intelligence. No more, no less. Sometimes I like to add fuel to the fire.
The data driven society is formed right now
More and more organizations are becoming data-driven, and with the right analytical culture and skill set those organizations are doing better than yesterday, and doing better than their competitors. They improve continuously based on facts, they innovate using Big Data, they reinvent themselves, they satisfy their customers better, and make bigger profits. The data-driven society is not tomorrow, it’s being formed right now. There’s no time to waste.
Change Management without BI would be nonsense
In a world where data analytics becomes the standard, Change Management can’t exist without bringing in the data. To put it more boldly: Change Management without doing proper data analyses is like living in the dark ages. In that era, Change Management was nothing more than trying to influence people with opinions, hearsay, or beliefs, and learning by trial and error. In my opinion, doing Change Management today without proper BI infrastructure would be completely nonsensical.
A lesson for BI professionals, too
But for Business Intelligence professionals I think there is a lesson in this, too. If you’re involved in a BI project and you see no changes at the business side, I believe your project is a complete failure. A total waste of time and money. You generate information which has no effect. You have a report factory without the right clients. The organization will do just what it did before – and that might turn out to be completely wrong or obsolete, the only thing is that you are doing it perhaps quicker than before. Failing faster at higher costs. BI & data analytics is critical. Cutting edge. If you don’t do BI right and your competitor does get it right, your business will soon come to an end.
We have to learn to unlearn
In my opinion BI is about changing behaviors and managing change, too – we have to learn to unlearn. It’s not only the tooling, choosing the best data modeling techniques or ETL tools & data integration tools. Modern Business Intelligence consultants are very well aware of that. The future will need BI consultants which are trained and skilled in both change management and BI technology. Think about tomorrow today.
The title of this article is the reason why we started Passionned Group 11 years ago.