Are you an IT or development specialist? Then you shall seriously consider Business Intelligence (BI) as your primary focus. It is an opportunity to greatly improve your income and your professional position.
In this post you will see what makes BI so attractive, and learn key directions to switch, evolve and collect valuable results in this field.
Why shall you focus BI?
What makes BI so attractive? Compared with other IT disciplines, BI stands out in some key points:
- Compelling need. Rational management based on quantitative technology is becoming a must for all companies. In order to compete in global market “management by feeling” shall be quickly replaced by “management by numbers” but the number of qualified pros (including managers) is too little for actual demand. This situation will probably last for 5-10 years.
- No outsourcing alternatives. IT requires local presence in order to understand business requirements. No way to outsource to Asia or East Europe.
- No applicable packages. BI is a strategic way to overcome competition. Each case shall focus a specific strategy. In order to differentiate, competitors can possibly use same tools, but hardly same application.
- High value. BI produces information for strategic decision, its value directly reflects on your value! You can adopt pricing strategies that can increase you revenue ten or more times and still let your client extremely satisfied.
No matter if you already are already involved in BI projects or you are a looking for a shift in your consulting career, here are my top 6 suggestions.
1 - Target right market
There are big corporation and there are smaller, dynamic companies. My experience in big corporations is disappointing: lot of discussions and many initiatives but limited results, with the exception of some report to justify the investment they made. I have seen are few exceptions, in technology sector.
Most of those companies recognize results are disappointing, but, instead of finding root causes, invent new names for old technologies (agile BI, self-service BI, real time BI, just to cite a few) to invest more time and resources in the last “state of the art” holy grail.
Targeting those companies is in general loss of time. Long discussions and dispersive meetings end up with the decision to hire some handy supplier to solve their problem using their recently released “state of the art” tool. One more on the shelf, and one more maintenance pain!
Smaller prospects, on the other side are hungry of tangible and immediate results. Their budget is obviously limited, but decision and approval process is usually faster. A prospect get difficult? No problem, jump to next. Universe is large and unexplored: you are targeting the long tail.
2 - Work on information, not data
Information is very different from data. It's not only a matter of naming, as you read in many articles and posts. It's a matter of structure. We use data to produce information, but information is organized in a very different way we are used to store data. Once you realize this you will understand the different techniques used to reduce this gap. This includes multidimensional data (so called cubes), the meaning implication and limitations of usual operations (like drilling down, through...).