The Democratization of Business Intelligence

The article "Expanding the Boundaries of Business Intelligence" (link) reports that, according to a Gartner study of CIOs, business intelligence is the top priority on the list of CIO worries for 2006. The article is mainly an interview with Gartner vice president Betsy Burton. She believes that CIOs need to adapt their thinking as BI becomes more pervasive throughout companies, leading to what could be called the "democratization of BI."

Some interesting points she makes are:
We're trying to get people to acknowledge that the business intelligence market—and what people are looking for from BI—has evolved dramatically over the last couple of years. People think of classic reporting, query, and OLAP tools. But we're talking about using business intelligence to help people lead, measure, optimize, discover, and innovate in order to change the landscape of their organization. We're beginning to see people have a much broader definition of where they see the value of BI.
... Another way of looking at it is that people are doing BI in lots of different ways, not just with BI tools. They're doing it in spreadsheets, and BI capabilities are appearing in other applications as analytics. That's why I say that CIOs should expand their idea of what BI is.
That's one way of putting it. It's using BI to optimize how I'm doing business and help me discover new ways of doing business. It's a question of decision-making versus discovery. I think of decision-making as a hard and rigid process. Leading and measuring are part of a cycle of evolution in BI. BI should become an inherent part of how people work across the organization. It's the use of information for everything you're working on, not just one part of a decision.
Is the democratization of BI something we should see more and more? I personally agree that more and more people, at all levels of the organization, will leverage BI capabilities in their daily work. Let me know what you think.
Posted on March 3, 2006 .