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BI must become part of broad IT strategy

Jaikumar Vijayan, Computerworld | May 6, 2011
LOS ANGELES -- Companies that tie business intelligence capabilities to broad IT performance management practices and strategic goals can gain a significant strategic advantage, said analysts and IT managers said at the Gartner BI Summit being held here this week.

The need for companies to tie BI data to a broader enterprise strategy and performance management objectives has been well understood for some time, said Lisa Pappas, a product marketing manager at SAS Institute.

Companies are increasingly looking to do more predictive modeling and forecasting in an effort to make better decisions, she said.

An IT manager at a maker of consumer products, who asked that his name and company not be identified, said Gartner's advice makes sense at a high level, but there are several caveats when it comes to implementation. "I would love to be able to do it, but it's not easy," he said.

Often, enterprise BI groups work in silos and do not directly report to a C-level executive, he said. At his company, for instance, his group reports to a vice president of process, who reports to the CIO.

Typically, requests to the BI group have to pass through multiple management layers, he noted.

"There are so many layers, that agility is lost," he said.

For BI to gain real strategic importance, the function should be overseen directly by the CFO, the COO or another top-level executive, the manager noted.


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