Business Intelligence Project Teams

Are you thinking about launching into a BI project soon?

If so, I’d like to share a brief discussion I had last week with the BI team here at Chamonix.  Essentially it revolved around a few things you should consider when hunting for the right team for your BI project.

In short your team should really be made up of a blend of generalists and technology specialists, with the weighting of each governed by the size and complexity of the project.  Furthermore, it’s probably a good idea to lead with the generalists.  Why?  Well, in our experience the generalists are able to understand and add value across the entire end-to-end scope of the BI project (which is invariably more complicated than originally thought).  From an holistic point of view, their experience and ability to join the dots between business strategy and technical implementation means “they just get it”.

Having defined the “what” (using your generalists) you can now define, and build, the “how” (using your technology specialists).

So what does a BI generalist look like?

A BI generalist would already have experienced a number of challenges in BI projects during their career. Though not exhaustive, they would most likely have previously dealt with issues like:

  • Poor engagement with the business;
  • Mismanaged expectations;
  • Stubborn IT fiefdoms;
  • Project management challenges; and
  • Communication obstacles.

On the technical front, they would be familiar with issues surrounding:

  • Data modelling (data marts and/or data warehouses);
  • Indexing;
  • ETL (Extract Transform and Load);
  • Data platforms;
  • Reporting;
  • Analytical Platforms; and
  • Dashboards, Scorecards and KPIs.

Ideally, they would also have been exposed to:

  • Forecasting and planning;
  • Master data management;
  • Business activity monitoring; and
  • Data mining.

From an industry perspective, they should be familiar with the disparate views and issues around:

  • Kimball versus Inmon;
  • Agile versus waterfall;
  • Cubes or aggregate tables; and
  • Operational versus strategic.

And of course they should be current on latest trends around:

  • In memory;
  • Column data stores;
  • Big data; and
  • Self-service analytics.

Team Image

So what does a BI Specialist look like?

Your BI specialists are a little easy to spot in a crowd.  They, at some point in their career, have chosen to develop deep technical skills in one or two specific BI technologies and/or disciplines (e.g. Reporting, integration, data modelling, storage, etc.).  The ones you should be looking for are the ones which are already aligned with the technology of your chosen BI platform.

Happy hunting.

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