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by Kesavan,H.

The significance of Business Intelligence (BI) has gained lot of currency over the last few years and lots of companies have jumped onto the BI bandwagon in the hope of finding the proverbial needle - namely, "actionable intelligence" - in the haystack of "data".

With a deluge of data confronting the companies nowadays, people at all levels of an enterprise have started realizing that implementing a BI system is more a necessity than a luxury. But despite the increased adoption by several organizations worldwide, we don't see as many successes with BI projects as there are adoptions. Why? Think for a moment.

The clue to the answer lies in "actionable intelligence". Everyone understands that the purpose of BI system is to provide actionable intelligence. The 'intelligence' can be derived from the analysis of the heterogenous data lying across the organization. But what about action? Here in lies the problem.

Most often companies fail to "close the loop" between analysis and action. Closing this loop is very critical and can singularly make the difference between SUCCESS and FAILURE. The failure to close the loop also reveals another ugly side of business which has failed to fade away- namely the failure of organizations to integrate IT into their business strategy. As a result, although the sponsor of BI project implements a BI system, he ends up finding no users for this system - however intelligent the system may be.

Another problem that is common to all organizations is that once they adopt an IT initiative, they forget the fact that IT is an enabler and not the panacea for all problems.

Therefore it is imperative that, as with any other technology, BI also needs to be driven top-down by the management and the intelligence so derived from such a system should be necessarily translated into "action", if not at the speed of light, atleast at the speed of sound.

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