Finding Your Business Intelligence Leader
Have you ever tried to cook a holiday meal with several people running the show? It’s not an easy task to pull off. Items are left out and your food sometimes ends up undercooked or burnt because nobody really knows who is in charge. It’s a much smoother process when one person is in charge.
The same thing can happen with your business intelligence system. Companies who add business intelligence software face the challenge of ensuring that the database is kept updated and refined over time. Although many newer cloud-based BI solutions update their software automatically, someone needs to be responsible for and own the database within your company. If you don’t appoint a person to be in charge, your BI initiatives may suffer.
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Here are some tips to help pick the right person to manage your business intelligence software:
Business Intelligence Ownership: Accountability
Typically, the owner of a task is also the person accountable for its success. The warehouse manager “owns” the warehouse, and is responsible for the efficient, safe, and productive management of that part of your business. The bookkeeper or accountant “owns” the task of ensuring that bills are paid, customers are invoiced, checks are cashed, and employees receive regular payments. Each person owns their task, and thus is accountable for its successful completion.
Business intelligence systems should also be assigned to someone within your company to ensure accountability for the system. The person who is tasked with this responsibility may not necessarily be someone from the IT department, although they can be. They should be someone who:
- Understands the importance of BI to the overall organization
- Knows the KPIs that align to the BI system and can monitor progress
- Holds authority to approve or deny requests for special programming or reports
- Ensures that the data entering the system is clean, and continues to monitor the quality of the data entering and exiting the system
- Learns the entire BI system thoroughly
- Receives additional, advanced training in the BI system to use all its components
- Adds BI to their official job description, so that it becomes an essential task, rather than an item to do when the employee has time.
This last point is extremely important. If an employee is asked to handle the business intelligence responsibility in addition to his or her regular job duties, it must become part of the regular duties or become relegated to the “I’ll get to it when I have time” category. Few rarely have extra time at work; tasks are most often left incomplete when they aren’t an essential part of the job. By officially adding the BI system to a job description, you are making it an important contribution to the organization, and a task worthy of attention and time for that employee.
BI System Administrator: Is It a Full-Time Job?
Typically, in small companies, the tasks of the BI administrator are added to another employee’s slate, while others feel that assigning major systems such as BI, ERP, and other potential systems to one person make better sense. Some larger companies may choose to make the BI system administrator a full-time job.
When choosing between adding these tasks to an existing employee or creating a full-time position, be sure to weigh the pros and cons carefully. Clearly, adding an extra position means adding a salary and benefits to your payroll. You must be sure that there is enough work for such a position to justify the increased expense. You will also need to recruit, hire, and train the new employee, which can take weeks or months to find the right person.
Conversely, it can also be difficult to add tasks to an existing employee. You may not have someone on staff who has the time to tackle the tasks. Existing staff members may not have the skills or interest in managing the BI system. Each company must decide for itself what makes the most sense.
Your business intelligence system is not unique; just like any system in your company, it will work best when it has someone to manage it within the company. By choosing one employee to be accountable for this task, you have a better chance of seeing the results that you desire. Don’t take the task of choosing lightly. Weigh the pros and cons, and see for yourself how this can help you with BI success.