The other day I met this guy. He is leading the Financial Management practice of a leading consulting firm of the world in India. We were discussing BI and BPM. I said to him that BI will be BPM when it grows up. His thoughts were that in most companies BI is being clubbed with CRM nowadays and he was quite surprised with my characterisation!
We had some discussion about that but he was not very convinced. Here is an interview with the "Father of Business Intelligence". A little introduction of him:
Howard Dresner coined the term "business intelligence" in 1989 while an analyst at research firm Gartner Inc. At that time, the software industry was mired in acronyms like DSS (decision support system) and EIS (executive information system), and Dresner was seeking a term that would elevate the debate and better define the analysis of quantitative information by a wide variety of users.
He left Gartner in 2005 to join Hyperion Solutions Corp. as chief strategy officer.
Here is what he has to say about BI and its future evolution. I promise I did not make it up!
Have the general improvements in computer technology made BI more readily adoptable?
Possibly, possibly not. It's more how do you work out the value you'e really going to get out of it. You do find a lot of BI was shelfware or partial shelfware, meaning it already got installed but people didn't use it. We'd just give someone a query tool and a data warehouse and say a prayer. It probably wasn't enough. [We figured] we'd give them query tools and warehouses, and somehow life would be better.
The next big thing is how to give people insight. Say the cost of a product line spiked; you know that nugget of insight. Then you need to figure out why it happened -- is it an error, a trend? Instead of the approach [of], "Here's a query tool, hope you find something impactful," we'e figuring out how to get actionable information into everyone's hands.
Business performance management is built on BI, but it goes beyond that; it's also thinking about operational and planning capabilities. You need to develop plans: How do you know whether information is good or bad? Whose gut feeling do you go with?
BPM is the next big thing.
It's sort of what BI is growing up to become. Data quality matters [because BPM is] tied to operational planning. If you do it right, you have to really believe in the numbers.
As much as I have a high regard for that friend of mine and that company, I am convinced that until the data in BI gets the "direction".. a functional and financial-oriented direction.. that data despite its quality standards cannot be used to its full potential!