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2013: Business Intelligence Dawns on The CIO

Eric Ernest | Jan. 21, 2013
In today's fast-paced digital age, given the amount and the rate of data generation, it is incumbent on enterprises to use data to gain insights and stay one step ahead of the competition. Fortunately, CIOs are stepping up to the challenge.

In today's fast-paced digital age, given the amount and the rate of data generation, it is incumbent on enterprises to use data to gain insights and stay one step ahead of the competition. Fortunately, CIOs are stepping up to the challenge.

According to the State of the CIO Survey, almost 90 percent of Indian CIOs are at varying states of implementing--or are in the process of implementing--a business intelligence solution. Out of that, 56 percent say that they expect to complete their business intelligence and analytics projects within the next 12 months, a sure sign that CIOs realize the power--and the need for--business intelligence.

However, just because BI seems to the in-thing, it doesn't mean that CIOs will have an easy time getting the necessary funds or support from management to drive the project.

This was a lesson Meenakshi Agrawal, VP-IT, Mumbai International Airport, learnt. When she proposed a business intelligence solution to optimize the airport's operations by monitoring key performance metrics--a project that is currently underway--she had to wait six months for the necessary approvals to come though.

"It was quite a tough battle," she says. "Unless you've seen it or worked with it (BI) before; it was more theory for users based on screenshots from vendors. They were not able to touch or feel the benefits. The process was protracted and it took a long time to take the decision to move ahead. They were uncertain about whether the solution would be as beneficial as planned."

Part of the challenge is that business intelligence and analytics projects are seen as expensive, that's what 49 percent of CIOs report in the State of the CIO Survey. And while many think of a BI project as a sure way to drive business, another 30 percent of CIOs say that one of the key barriers to BI is that it has no clear ROI.

It helps for stakeholders to be able to see how the solution will work to get them on to invest in BI. This is what Agrawal did. "We had to have a number of demos by vendors. We asked them to take our data and put it into their tool and allow users to see their own data being manipulated. In this way stakeholders felt more comfortable," says Agrawal.

Nilesh Sangoi, CTO, Meru Cab Company, who is also looking to optimize his operations using data analytics as a tool--he plans to set up an algorithm that will automate and increase the efficiency of the booking process--went about getting buy-in using another way. He says to get approvals for 20 mini-projects, for which analytics was used extensively, he ensured that for each of them proof of concepts were carried out by running controlled experiments and demonstrating the benefits from the projects. This, he says, helped build greater acceptability in rolling out bigger implementation across the board.

 

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