Using Business Intelligence to Achieve Organizational Success

Earl Newsome, Global VP & CIO, Praxair, Inc.
Earl Newsome, Global VP & CIO, Praxair, Inc.

Earl Newsome, Global VP & CIO, Praxair, Inc.

With businesses today being constantly inundated with huge amounts of information and data, many are facing information overload. Yet the ability to accurately gather, decipher and capitalize on this data is becoming increasingly vital to a business’s growth, competitive edge and overall success. Today companies need an effective business intelligence (BI) strategy, one that accounts for the latest trends and can identify and avoid data biases.

Seeking Wisdom

The BI landscape today is primarily built around the Data, Information, Knowledge, and Wisdom model, or DIKW. It begins with the collection of data from various sources and ends with the moving and converting of it into organized data.The most salient information derived from that data is then analyzed and used to create knowledge. Finally, the acquired knowledge can be used to gain wisdom about how to build system architecture and implement plans and technology based on business priorities. It is all about using new technological tools and capabilities to help established businesses and entrepreneurs create and apply wisdom inside business operations and make data-evidence-based decisions.

  Today companies need an effective business intelligence (BI) strategy, one that accounts for the latest trends and can identify and avoid data biases​  

Uncovering Data Bias

Technological expansion is leading to an exponential increase in the amount of data produced every day. While the effective collection and analysis of this data is critical to business success, business leaders and IT teams need to be wary of data biases, which are often created unintentionally. For instance, the simple act of relying on data from one source can create data bias. Biases can also be found in data and algorithms that are prevalent in organizations, either intentionally or unintentionally. The collected data, including that used to make many business decisions and the algorithms employed to analyze it, often has some inherent biases in it. To help address this bias, organizations must be able to select the most critical data and gather it from multiple sources.

The Expansion of AI

The adoption of artificial intelligence, or AI, is among the most compelling and important trends seen across industries today. Companies that can effectively incorporate AI into more of their business functions will likely be best able to increase both productivity and efficiency. That is why all business leaders and IT teams need to know about AI and understand the latest developments in this rapidly expanding field. 

Seeking Operational Intelligence

Many companies are now finding they can further streamline operations and drive productivity by harnessing the power of operational data – which can, in turn, be converted into operational intelligence. Companies with high levels of operational intelligence are better able to find ways to automate and simplify business processes, exploit a competitive advantage and have more productive supply chains, smoother business operations and better customer relationships.

Identifying the Right Solutions

Organizations now need to reflect on these latest BI trends and look at how they are affecting particular industries. Specifically, they need to look at how they can instill wisdom into the work they do, remove biases and understand and truly capitalize on the power of data analytics. This often involves finding suppliers who can help identify and implement the best solutions and produce the desired outcomes. For that, those suppliers must be alert and highly knowledgeable to the latest BI trends and the implications of those trends to the success of businesses across industries.

Advice to Fellow CIOs for Effective BI Implementation

The success of any organization is based on excellent leadership. And effective leaders need to set a course for success and then see it effectively carried out on a strategic, technical and tactical level. CIOs need to provide guidance to business leaders about which data analytics can help their organizations and then formulate effective BI strategies. Secondly, they must be aware of the tactical steps necessary to implement those strategies into business operations. Finally, they need to work together with their business leaders to follow through on the strategies, be alert to any unforeseen trends that may necessitate changes to them and continue to closely monitor their effectiveness.

One leadership suggestion is to ask 3 basic questions:
1) What questions are you asking today that you want better answers too?
a. This helps them to improve the analytics they are already receiving.

2) What questions have you always wanted to ask, but were afraid too?
a. This allows them to ask for analytics that they thought were impossible to obtain.

3) Are these the questions that you should be asking, but didn’t know to ask?
a. This allows the CIO to share questions you know they should be asking but are not.

Go on, take the lead!

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