Monday, September 06, 2010

Book Review: Business Intelligence Success Factors

imageJust finished reading Business Intelligence Success Factors, Tools for Aligning your Business in the Global Economy by Olivia Parr Rud.  I have to admit this was a hard read and took me longer than normal to get through.

First of all, this is unlike any Business Intelligence book you have ever read.  The focus here is on how the old organizational paradigms of command control will not work in the new, connected, global economy.  In our new world, old school BI showing standard reports and dashboards to the top business leaders after a 8 month development effort simply won’t cut it.  In an increasingly quickly changing, chaotic world we need to reinvent how we approach BI in our organizations to be adaptable, resilient and connected.

The biggest “a ha” for me while reading this book was the chapter on Holocracy.  A Holocracy is the concept of having self organizing teams that are empowered to accomplish the goals of their team without a command and control structure.  We have been talking a lot in our organization about adopting Agile development practices.  In some respects we have been stuck in the mindset that this is purely for project / development teams.  What is becoming increasingly clear, is that the principles of Agile can be applied to all parts of your organization and roles.  Over the past months we have been moving in the direction of turning our team upside down and applying lean principles and empowerment of our teams across the board.  Reading about Holocracy’s in this book helped me crystallize my thinking and filled in some gaps as we move down this road.

This book covers a lot of concepts in what can feel like an unconnected way at first.  If you persevere and finish the book you will walk away with new insights and a totally different way of looking at how you implement BI in your organization.  The author provides full references to all her sources, and I would also recommend “Tribal Leadership”, “Good to Great” and “Switch, How to Change When Change is Hard.”

BI is hard, the more advanced you get in your BI capabilities, the harder it gets.  If you are a leader of a BI team you will be one of the first to feel the impact of our new world as your organization demands more and more insight to optimize your business.  It is essential that you are ahead of the curve, not on applying Business Intelligence, but on how to be a Leader in a flat, team-centered and dynamic environment.

This is a personal weblog, and does not represent the thoughts, intentions, plans or strategies of my employer.