A Report Builders Club
Traditionally, Business Intelligence (BI) has an image of a “report builders club,” as a client of mine has recently expressed. This traditional image creates the profile of a typical BI consultant. It is true that a handy and competent report builder is especially great on knowledge of tools, methods and techniques, and is sometimes involved in gathering the business requirements of his customers.
In many traditional businesses and organizations, the BI department keeps reporting to an IT head. This image is now pretty much obsolete. The designers and report builders (regular) are an endangered species, especially if this skill is the only one they possess. And the danger comes from both outside and inside BI itself!
BI, as a service, is progressively featured by a high degree of self-service IT-literate users, who more and more build their own reports and dashboards, and, sometimes, concepts. Advanced Business Intelligence tools make this possible. In addition, a number of market developments that represent the need for and the role of BI are fundamentally changing.
Business Intelligence in Business
The market shifts follow in quick succession. New parties emerge and, thanks to an innovative business model, they present a real threat to traditional market players. Due to this quick change, companies especially need reliable (data-driven) insights that would enable them to look forward faster and sharper. At the same time, the volume of relevant data is increasing dramatically.
Automatic systems and sensors that generate incredible amounts of data require a radically different approach to achieve the necessary insights from the data heaps, preferably in real time. Take a look at the rise of Big Data and Data Science. Successful response to this allows organizations to flexibly respond to trends and developments in their markets and to their customers. Thus, Predictive BI becomes an integral part of the smart and agile organization.
What does this mean for the new-style BI consultant?
These developments demand a BI consultant to adopt a new style. This person will have to combine a number of skills. Technically speaking, they will have to master a wide range of methods and techniques, such as data mining. They have to design not only reports, but also advanced analytical models, the core of Predictive BI. These models are often taken from corners of Artificial Intelligence, a field that has been undergoing a revival in recent years.
Regarding the advisory skills, the BI advisor of the 21st century is a critical sparring partner for their customers. They have to accurately assess the business requirements, to critically listen and really understand what the customer’s underlying question is, the question behind the question. Where necessary, they have to be able to firmly challenge their customers in their wishes. Which is possible only based on a deep understanding of the customer’s business. Otherwise, the advisor will not be taken seriously. The advisor is to become a business partner, a new role they will have to prove first.
Hens teeth and the intelligent organization
Business Intelligence 2.0 is a critical enabler: a tool that not only makes the intelligent organization of the 21st century possible, but actually takes it further. The role of the BI consultant is to make this shift from tool to critical success factor properly. The combination of skills that a successful adviser should bring is quite harsh. Sense of organizations and processes, consulting skills, technical knowledge and business knowledge. Combining this skill set in one person is not easy, and many organizations would find the solution in further differentiation of the role.
How this works and what directions are possible and workable, you can learn at our two-day Business Intelligence training for consultancy skills and all you need to know about BI & Analytics.