I’ve been kicking around an idea, but have been struggling to get the words right. Then a spark of inspiration came when reading a blog by Steve Miller, “Big Data Isn’t Like Every Other IT Project”. My blog isn’t about Big Data, but rather about why organizations continue to see such low success rates in Business Intelligence and Data Warehouse adoption after all these years. Within Steve’s posting he quoted one of his mentors as saying “The decision support project actually starts when the key stakeholders first see their data.”

Now, this premise was one of the founding principles and has remained a key driver behind Kalido’s success since day one, but seeing it in print brought this blinding glimpse of the obvious back into full view. We (technologists) have been so focused on developing business intelligence solutions that we have been neglecting to build solutions for the intelligent business.

I said that this posting wasn’t about Big Data, and it isn’t. But, I must applaud the hype around Big Data which is bringing to light the failings of traditional development techniques in keeping pace with business demand for the right data at the right time. This shortcoming is not a new phenomenon, but is receiving renewed attention. It has plagued organizations that are trying to become data-centric for a long time now. Traditional IT development approaches have not been agile enough to keep up with the cadence of business when it comes to information driven projects.

Information driven projects, whether they are Big Data oriented or not are much more dynamic and discovery oriented. Knowledge-workers making use of data to fuel decisions may not know what to ask next until they see the answer to the preceding question. I liken this to printing directions to your destination before you leave the house vs. using a GPS en route. Everything is cool when you leave the house until the first detour. Now, the requirements have changed and you must course correct. The model (printed directions) only supports the original requirements. There’s no time to create a change request and wait for it to be processed through the back log. You’re going to miss your flight!

Organizations must embrace the concept of “recalculating” if they hope to meet new requirements as they arise. Business, much like traffic, isn’t stagnant. It changes constantly due to unforeseen circumstances and influences from outside, disruptive forces. Anticipating change and being willing and able to adapt is the best mitigating force to meeting your target objectives – and catching your flight.

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