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American Recovery Act Business Intelligence: What are the Implications for the BI Community?

The American Recovery Act Business Intelligence mandates detailed reporting at the enterprise level, about how the government money was spent. It also forces grant beneficiaries to provide accurate lift measurements accomplished thanks to the recovery funds.

While many companies already perform this type of auditing using various BI platforms, e.g. to provide accurate core financial and non-financial summary statistics to Wall Street, the Recovery Act enacted last February should provide benefits to the BI community, in particular to business analysts, data miners, BI vendors, consultants, and more generally, to any software company or analytic professional with experience in data management, data modeling, predictive modeling, as well as metric expertise. New jobs will be created internally by companies benefiting from the funds. Also, many companies will outsource tracking and auditing of spend and lift to expert consulting firms or vendors.

As a side effect, Corporate America will get more acquainted with business analytics, business intelligence, dashboards, statistical visualization, etc. Companies that are behind in analytic usage will need to catch up. Throughout all levels of organizations, the new Recovery Act will boost usage of analytics products, not just to produce numbers, but to produce numbers that can be leveraged, as there is a strong incentive for accountability regarding the money spent. In some organizations, complex BI architectures will be required as data is stored across several large, non compatible databases.

Overall, the impact will be more jobs and work for BI experts and vendors, a better appreciation of the value of analytics by the general public, possibly encouraging young people to embrace analytic studies and careers, and better usage of BI tools and their power in many organizations.


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