Without the correct processes and governance, self-service capabilities can introduce many versions of the truth, increase errors in reporting, and leave businesses susceptible to inconsistent information. If so, how does a company find a balance between the traditional IT development process and more innovative data discovery?
Many companies don’t want to rely on IT, yet they want access to the data. They also want to rely on the quality of the reports / dashboards that they are leveraging. Therefore, you must make it a partnership! Invest in BI and analytic environments to allow experimentation and data discovery, and then follow that up with resilient operationalized analytics where repeatable value is identified.
This can work! One suggested way is incorporating the concept of a matrixed organization. Do this by creating a BI Competency Center in IT that develops certified enterprise reporting through using a standard iterative and agile approach with the business, including user acceptance testing and sign off. Make sure the reports are visually identifiable. This is typically used by IT teams to provide high quality, consistent reporting to an organization.
Also, use data analysts in the business to explore the data and share the results. This is extremely useful, specifically for driving innovation, yet the results should not be certified and that should be understood by everyone in the organization.
The partnership is then created by matrixing a subset of the IT BICC developers to specific business areas, ensuring that they are still reporting to IT and leveraging all the standards that IT requires. They must also learn the business and work to pick up the information that is important to the business and why. As they discover useful information, they partner with the BI developers and create certified reports and dashboards that can be leveraged across the organization, which is a win/win situation.
The success of this approach is highly dependent on whether you have the right people across IT and the business working together. They must be collaborative, responsive, and adaptable, while having strong critical thinking and problem-solving skills. They should have strong, fast, execution, iterative development, and good communication. Most importantly, they must fully understand the value of this matrixed approach to the organization.