Tuesday, December 02, 2008

Successful Business Intelligence Projects: The Role of Managers and Leaders

Most BI projects fail because the leadership for those projects is wrong. An article on how Some Brains Wire for Change[i] helps explain the physiological reasons how some individuals can adapt easier to change than others. This article makes clear that people’s brains are different and that different does not mean “bad”. In today’s recession it is important for organizations to understand the role of a manager vis-à-vis the need for a leader in the area of analytics.

Every organization needs both managers and leaders in analytics. Managers are those individuals who supervise individuals who conduct analytics within an organization. Leaders are those individuals who guide or have commanding authority in the area of analytics within an organization.

I have found that organizations tend to have good managers in the area of analytics but lack leaders. Managers are efficient at maintaining the status quo and are adverse to risks. Leaders are risk takers and innovators, but not necessarily proficient at managing or maintenance of a department.

An organization that is satisfied with how its analytical capabilities are producing a lift in their revenues and profits, should be looking to improve how to efficiently manage those capabilities. On the other hand, an organization that is looking to improve revenues, costs, or profitability by using its analytical capabilities needs leadership in the area of analytics. A good manager realizes when he needs a leader, and a good leader acknowledges the need for a manager.

Managers and leaders of analytics have different roles, and although they are not mutually exclusive it is the role of executive management to define the priorities in the area of analytics at any given time. Sometimes organizations make the mistake of trying to make managers leaders or vice-versa. The results are that the analytics capabilities within an organization never bloom to its full potential in contributing to increased profits. In my experience managers contribute about 80% to 90% of the success of a business intelligence project, and leaders contribute 10% to 20% of the success of the project. Therefore, a successful BI project needs both managers and leaders.

Contact Alberto Roldan at R&R Analytics at atomanalytics@gmail.com
[i] http://www.livescience.com/health/081201-brain-personality.html

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