Ending the battle between business and IT

The battle between business and IT has never been more profound.

Business users have growing customer expectations, changing market dynamics, increasing competition and evolving regulatory conditions to deal with. These factors compound the pressure on business decision makers to act now. Unfortunately, they often can’t get the data they need when they need it.

Research shows that business managers often have to make data-driven decisions within one day. However, the time to build a single report using traditional BI methods can take six weeks or longer and a typical business intelligence deployment can take up to 18 months.

On the IT side, teams are feeling the pressure. They have a long list of items to do for the short run and long run. Regarding data management, IT has to try to combine data from multiple sources, ensure that data is secure and accurate, and deliver the data to the business user as requested.

Given the need for “data now,” in relation to the bandwidth concerns placed on IT, many organizations find that their enterprise lacks the skills, technology, and support to use their corporate data to keep up with competitors, customer needs, and the marketplace. Adding to this existing challenge is the notion that companies are continuously adding new data sources, but each new data integration can take weeks or even months. By the time the work is complete, it’s likely that a newer, better source has already taken its place.

The answer: automation

Automation is a force that is driving change throughout the entire BI stack. Just look at the proliferation of self-service data visualization tools. But self-service analytics can quickly go awry without adequate governance.

Companies that can integrate self-service BI and still maintain governance, security and data quality, will empower business users to make decisions on-demand, while relieving IT from these internal stakeholder pressures.

Having the ability to store data in a place or a hub where it can be cleansed, reconciled, and made available as a consistent resource, on demand resource to business users can help solve the issue.

When quality issues arise, or bad data is found, the error can be corrected once in the hub for all users — resulting in one single source of the truth. It is a place where data quality and consistency are maintained. This central repository enables the right person to have access to the right data at the right time.

Beyond the limits

Business executives, managers, and frontline users in operations want the power to move beyond the limits of spreadsheets so that they can engage in deeper analysis by leveraging data insights to strengthen all types of decision needs. Today, newer tools and methods are making it possible for organizations to meet the demands of nontechnical users by enabling them to access, integrate, transform, and visualize data without traditional IT handholding.

The age of self-service demands that business users have full and flexible access to their data. It also demands that business users be the ones who determine that data should be included in the system. And while business users need the expert help of IT to ensure the quality, consistency, and contextual validity of the data, business and IT can now work together more closely and more easily than ever before.

Organizations can effectively “democratize” data by addressing the needs of nontechnical users including business executives, managers and frontline users. This can transpire If they grant more power to those users, not just in terms of access and discovery, but also in terms of sourcing what goes into a central hub.

In the end, giving more power to the people is one surefire way to help end the battle between business and IT.

Heine Krog Iversen is the CEO of TimeXtender, the largest provider of Data Warehouse Automation software for the Microsoft SQL Server. He can be reached at [email protected]