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Will the current economic landscape prevent the launch of new BI initiatives?

Timo Elliot asked an interesting question today. In his post, What Might Go Wrong in Business Intelligence in 2009? He points to a few interesting risks facing Business intelligence projects (People will try to do without BI, People will revert to hand-coding and excel macros, Organizations will implement standards, and Business units will find it easier than ever to implement their own solutions).

His post got me thinking. What risks are we going to face as we launch a new BI consulting practice in the current context? I would argue the following:

  • For companies who have already launched a BI project, they may want to accelerate pace in order to get benefits sooner and use the intelligence to develop a solid competitive advantage. This is where the advantage of an Agile approach become interesting.
  • For companies who were thinking of starting a BI initiative, they must be educated with regards to the benefits of a BI project. In the current context, nobody will want to initiate a 3 years and $2M project. Once again the Agile approach makes sense.
  • Companies who are currently using excel macros may not be as bad since they understand the value of business intelligence but lack the right processes and tools. I would argue that those companies need to be presented with a cost-effective tool and process to obtain better insight. They need to be shown that the current process is not sustainable and error-prone.
  • The forth risk needs to be addressed differently as the challenge is one of integration. It would be necessary to determine the quality of the current process and resulting information in order to propose once again a more sustainable and centralized solution.

Although it might sound simplistic, it seems to me that the current economic situation simply raises the bar on consulting firms and technology providers. We now have to clearly demonstrate our solutions are cost-effective and will add value in a shorter time frame. Very few people would debate the “added-value” part but the “cost-effective” and “shorter time frame” might be more of a challenge. This is an opportunity for the best companies to stand out of the crowds.

Change always brings opportunities for those who want to grow.

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