If This BI Stuff

By Lisa Vaas  |  Posted 2005-06-08 Print this article Print

Is So Good, Why Arent More People Using It?"> I could go on and on. There were plenty of nice case studies like these presented, but whats really worth looking into are the factors that are blocking the adoption of these advanced data analytics tools. As EMAs Rothman said, hes always surprised at the low level of BI adoption when he asks audiences for a show of hands. Whats holding people up? For one, Drew Irving, director of Information Engagement at Diageo N.A., said that standardizing APIs has been a challenge at the beverages company.
"We have a lot of opportunity in sales and marketing, but we dont have the business relationships," he said. "We do have [the relationship] on the CFO side. She looks at it as standardizing and simplifying the business. Shes gotten the CEO on board with her. … The senior-level sponsorship will drive it."
Starting at the C level means the CFO and the CEO get to choose the dashboard metrics they want to look at. That will help the company shift from the hundreds of versions of monthly marketing reports theyve suffered with. Thus, people will finally stop spending all their time questioning the metrics—i.e., "Where do these numbers come from?"—and can instead spend time on real business-enhancing decision-making, Irving said. Thats cool, because customers are hung up on three things, and consensus is one of them, said Kirby Lunger, an analyst for Painted Word Inc. Lunger told me that her customers are focused on data cleansing, data centralization, and getting management buy-in and user uptake for these new technologies. Training was touted by many as being the way to get around user and management resistance. Specifically, many presenters advised hand-picking BI champions in divisions or departments. EMAs Rothman got more specific: His advice was to hit em in the wallet. He found a doctor at a hospital who was dying to do BI. The project helped the doctor improve how much money the doctor was making, by targeting the time/days that patients walk out the door, increasing the number of nurses on staff during those crucial times, and thus decreasing the amount of patients that walk out the door. More patients seen, more money in the doctors pocket. "You talk about money with these folks. Were all human beings," Rothman said. "If you could show all of us how to make money by just paying attention … and thats what we did." Next Page: "Why isnt anybody talking about security?"

Lisa Vaas is News Editor/Operations for eWEEK.com and also serves as editor of the Database topic center. Since 1995, she has also been a Webcast news show anchorperson and a reporter covering the IT industry. She has focused on customer relationship management technology, IT salaries and careers, effects of the H1-B visa on the technology workforce, wireless technology, security, and, most recently, databases and the technologies that touch upon them. Her articles have appeared in eWEEK's print edition, on eWEEK.com, and in the startup IT magazine PC Connection. Prior to becoming a journalist, Vaas experienced an array of eye-opening careers, including driving a cab in Boston, photographing cranky babies in shopping malls, selling cameras, typography and computer training. She stopped a hair short of finishing an M.A. in English at the University of Massachusetts in Boston. She earned a B.S. in Communications from Emerson College. She runs two open-mic reading series in Boston and currently keeps bees in her home in Mashpee, Mass.

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