BI Business Requirements: When Perfect is the Enemy of Good

By Evan Levy

Sometimes we find clients who overestimate their need for analytics. Often, IT is focused on using BI to analyze a problem exhaustively, when sometimes exhaustive analysis just isn’t necessary. Sometimes our analytics requirements just aren’t that sophisticated.

Twenty years ago, WalMart knew when it needed to pull a product from the shelf. This didn’t require advanced analytics to drill down on the category, affinities, the seasonality, or the purchaser. It was simple: if the product didn’t sell after six days, free up the shelf space and move on. After all, there were other products to sell.

Why does this matter? Because we get so wrapped up in new, more sophisticated technologies that we forget about our requirements. Sometimes we just need to know what the problem and resulting action is. We don’t necessarily need to know the "why" every time. Often, all business users want is the information that’s good enough to support the decision they need to make.

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About Evan Levy

Evan Levy is Vice President of Business Consulting at SAS. In addition to his day-to-day job responsibilities, Evan speaks, writes, and blogs about the challenges of managing and using data to support business decision making.

2 responses to “BI Business Requirements: When Perfect is the Enemy of Good”

  1. suman syam says :

    Hi Evan,
    It’s an very good article and kindly let me know how actually we can find out the BI need of companies is there any particular one stop shop. Please guide me with this.
    Looking forward to hear from you soon
    Cheers!!!

  2. Evan Levy says :

    Here’s a book that one of the partners at Baseline wrote a few years back discussing various ways that different companies have used BI to support their individual needs.
    e-Data: Turning Data Into Information With Data Warehousing
    http://www.amazon.com/e-Data-Information-Warehousing-Addison-Wesley-Technology/dp/0201657805/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1246563642&sr=8-1

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