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The last 15 years has brought us the boom of business intelligence as a mission critical application for decision support. As the BI landscape evolved, the critical nature of timely, accurate, information did as well. For most, venturing into this necessary space has brought with it some hard lessons learned on the BI highway. Most of these hard lessons find their roots in the information management practices of organizations. 

 

Information Management – and in its greater sense, Data Governance – has become a critical focus for consideration among businesses serious about growth and profit. Looking back some years, information management was a mere afterthought to the pressing need for BI reporting. Hard to believe the irony, right? Times have definitely changed and so has the technological horizon for how to harness the power of information to improve the business. Here are three areas to consider as you venture deeper into the world of business intelligence.

 

The Value of Metadata

Metadata is the enabler of data governance. The “data about the data”, in other words, harnessed with the right enabling technology, will help an organization establish standards around data definitions, track and manage impact across systems, trace data values from report to source and much more. Effectively, this is the road to governance and ultimately it is about creating an environment where data capture processes can be analyzed and improved upon.

 

Agility of Information Access

BI projects can consume resources very quickly. From the outset, a request for information can lead to lengthy processes of bringing disparate data and technology together. Without a nimble, or “agile” way to tap the value of information in a business, the cost and the pain around failed BI projects come together in force. Here is where a unified and integrated BI architecture can be helpful. By combining information management and data quality capabilities with the BI platform presentation layer, information can be accessed and integrated in a timely fashion. Sharing metadata and supporting one environment are other key benefits of doing this.

 

The Power of Now

The conversation of “in-memory” is making waves is a disruptive fashion in the industry. The concept of moving the data warehouse from disk to memory is at first daunting, but, as we’ve heard so often lately, very possible. The future is even more interesting as visions have been cast for the entire data tier in an organization to eventually live in memory. Can you imagine lightning quick analysis capabilities in real time? Terabytes in milliseconds? Coming to terms with the possibility of running the enterprise in memory (ERP) is at once daunting and inspiring.

 

It is inspiring because for the first time, we are on the horizon of serious innovation for business. Drastic innovations in technology are making this possible and businesses should take note. As the speed of business is rapidly increasing, a company’s need to leverage technology to align their strategy with execution should follow suit. For at the end of the day the stakes are too high not to and it will all come down to one’s ability to evolve their information management practices. 

What are your thoughts about other considerations organizations should make to ensure they keep innovating their business for success?

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