Our little CIOecret. The A-Blog.

29.10.15 A-Article 1.1: 'Avoiding CIO Headaches: Big Data & Business Intelligence Programmes'

CIO Business Intelligence Headaches

Big Data and Business Intelligence Projects can be exhausting and often deeply poltical journeys. We suggest the following planning thoughts for the first or next round of works.

  1. Don't carry the can. Ensure your Programme has one or more prominent non-IT 'C' Level sponsors. You'll need them for sound business cases, for credibility purposes and to remind the greater business community why you're spending a large portion of their change budget.
  2. Do more than develop. Have an impact on the business.. Hire highly skilled enthusiastic BAs to review BI aligned business practices and process. If they spot opportunities for business change, back them to the hilt. It will benefit the cosmetic and functional value of the programme.
  3. Set your Scope. Don't let someone alter it. Be clear on what that scope is. Constantly consult the greater project poftfolio managers for what's ahead might affect business structures - i.e. requirements and data model designs.
  4. Be patient. Waterfall works. However tempted you get, do not start developing cubes and reports with out tested data. This will lead to constant rework, resource waste and a lack of understanding from the business as to why you are taking so long.
  5. Fight for a good budget. Do not scrimp on experienced professional help. Better still, listen to those people.
  6. Work out scale before you start. Plan for project success, be realistic with costs, go big. Take the negativity hit at the beginning of the project, not during or after.
  7. Pick software and infrastructure options based on the needs of your business. Do not pick a Business Intelligence software package based your company's current estate spend with a major. It will only come back to haunt you if you do.
  8. Integrate the product on day one. Identify early adoptors with in the business on day one. Train them from the start of the project, not the start of the release and implementation period.
  9. Do not buy a data model. Custom build by getting a great solutions architect with multiple sector experience to help. One size does not fit all. A flexible business is a capable business. A data model and architecture should be the same.
  10. Do things on-site. Do not pick an off-shore team to integrate and prepare existing systems. Do it properly with on-site teams by making sure users and systems administrators have a say in how to perform the actions. Using Offshore Teams is equivelant to putting one's head in the sand.
  11. Be BOLD in concept and design. Contrary to most advice we recommend you do not choose the 'low-hanging fruit' design method to start. Go big, have ambition and start with a best in class vision. From there you can downsize the mission if necessary.

Written by David W.M. Russell.