OK – I admit it. I used a blog topic generator to come up with a title for my end of year blog. You can tell straight away, can’t you, from the formulaic listicle “guaranteed to grab attention”. And whilst the suggestions that came up all sounded pretty ridiculous, I kind of liked the absurdity of using one of them: hence the tautology that will develop in this blog.
Well how else could I get Christmas into a blog about BI? Always up for a challenge!
Misconceptions about the Three Wise Men:
We do not know for certain if there were three wise men – we assume this because the Bible mentions three gifts: gold, frankincense and myrrh. Matthew 2:11 (n.1)
We have come to accept that their names were Gaspar, Balthasar, and Melchior, but the Bible does not actually state their names. We have accepted the names given over time to make the story telling better.
The Wise Men are often referred to as “Kings” but the New Testament does not support this – the idea is derived from a prophecy in Isaiah 60:3 (n.2) and other similar references. (They are actually believed to be wealthy, educated philosophers and astrologers, who studied ancient scripture and who recognised the significance of the unusual star they perceived at the time of Jesus’ birth.)
Now I have to turn this blog around and relate it to Business Intelligence!!
Well, as a BI consultancy, we know from our experience of working with hundreds of organisations that almost everywhere we implement a BI solution, we have to question the long-standing conceptions inherited by the people working there.
We do this using our software and analysis techniques – applied on their datasets to give an objective picture of all their combined data sets. This allows us to focus in and highlight issues that have never previously been apparent. It’s usually the first time they have seen their data in this way.
It’s a case of getting to the truth of what is happening and delivering insights that often surprise them – because they may have spent years accepting the commonly held misconceptions that have become a cultural “given” in their organisations.
In most cases when a BI solution is implemented, from Day 1 the resulting information is a real eye-opener. Like with the 3 Wise Men, the misconceptions often fall into the following categories:
Misconceptions BC (Before Conversion to BI)
It goes without saying that misconceptions relating to numbers and values are the most likely to be shattered once a BI solution is implemented. By its very nature, BI is designed to accurately calculate numbers and measures, so that you will clearly see and really know if that number is 3 or 303!
Not quite as obvious – but names are often very misleading when trying to get at the truth behind data. For example, in an organisation where there is no central definition of what is meant by say a Product Group called “Large Cans of Beans”, you will get maybe a sales manager counting sales of 500g cans and a marketing manager counting sales of 750g cans. So implementing a BI solution bringing data and definitions under the spotlight from all aspects of a business allows you to define one single version of the truth.
Before implementing a BI solution you might have thought that particular Customers , let’s call them “Gaspar, Balthasar, and Melchior” were your best, or “King” customers: the ones delivering you the most profit or using your services the most. But in many cases we have found that by running certain types of analysis on clients’ data, those “King” customers turn out to be paupers. They may even be losing you money! This allows to you re-evaluate your customer strategy, for sales, services and rebates etc.
So this exercise with the blog topic generator just goes to prove that you can turn almost any topic into the benefits of Business Intelligence. There are so many real benefits to choose from that it’s quite easy!
1. Matthew 2:11 “On coming to the house, they saw the child with his mother Mary, and they bowed down and worshiped him. Then they opened their treasures and presented him with gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh.”
2. Isaiah 60:3 “Nations will come to your light, And kings to the brightness of your rising.”
About Debbie Lonsdale
Debbie Lonsdale has been working with the Diver Solution as a BI Consultant at Dynamic Business Informatics since 2008. Her previous experience includes computer programming, analytical and technical roles, team management, account management, sales and marketing in a variety of market sectors, including the Travel Industry and Distribution. She combines this experience as an all round ICT professional in the BI sector.