When an organization kick-starts a Business Intelligence (BI) initiative, it should start TOP-DOWN by identifying a business sponsor first. This business sponsor is none other than the CEO himself. The drive for such an initiative has to come from the top. An IT head such as a CIO sponsoring the initiative may not take it very far and most often the initiative might end up getting abandoned or the BI system, even if implemented, might not find any users.
The CEO wields the power to see this initiative through to its logical end. Why do I say so? The reasons are as follows:
(1) The CEO is the one who sets the VISION, MISSION and the GOALS for an organization.
(2) BI is verily an initiative that demands a change in the organizational culture as a pre-condition for successful implementation and it is the very same CEO who can lead such a cultural change.
Implementing a BI system, on the other hand, needs a BOTTOM-UP approach because it has to cater to the needs of not only the CXOs but also the decision makers at all other levels of an organization. Therefore information has to be reduced to the lowest common denominator i.e.,the lowest grain before rolling it up to higher and higher levels of decision making. If the information is, say, available only at a summarized or the HIGHEST level , it cannot be broken down to cater to the lower levels of decision makers in the hierarchy; whereas if the information is available at the bottom-most level, it can be easily aggregated to cater to all levels up the hierarchy.