Data Share House
Arguably, the way we manage unexpected events could result in the ultimate success or failure of our business. Thus, learning how to effectively tackle challenging surprises is critical in the fast-moving world we work in.
The most fundamental thing to understand about managing surprises is that most of these are not surprising at all. It could be a risk which we undervalued, a detail which we failed to take into account or a person we overtrusted. Anyway, the responsibility to predict surprises is entirely ours and we shouldn’t, at least consciously, fall victims of these.
And how does that relate to Business Intelligence? Isn’t it all data and IT stuff, which are mostly technical?
In a world where BI was in its independent universe, surprises wouldn’t matter at all, but in our business reality, BI solutions are affected by the dynamics of people, processes and authorities. Thus, at the building stages of a BI process or tool, we should make an in-depth assessment of anything that could change. There is no need to list endless scenarios of earthquakes and military coups, just make sure every aspect of your BI processes which could change (despite this doesn’t seem likely), is easily amendable.
For example, let’s look at two common BI objects:
“Year” – it is predictable this would change. Fixing such an object as permanent would make your tool unusable the following year. Of course.
“Main Currency” – imagine you bill in USD ($) and you build your tool in a way that it converts to and from USD whichever currency. Your USD is a fixed, non-amendable object. You have traded this way for the last 10 years. However, if tomorrow, for whatever reason you adopt global billing in EUR, your BI tool, if not prepared, is already useless or subject to a costly rebuilding. Except.. if you had pre-built your tools to accommodate such a change with a click of a button.
Another common example of "unexpected" change is when a process is tied to a person. People get involved with processes, and they lose motivation too. Not predicting an employee could leave and setting processes around people, not roles, is a risk to your BI and data management.
By applying the principles above to the tools and designs you build, you could save valuable resources. By outsmarting "unpredictable" future changes at the right time, you could minimise the damage surprises could potentially do to your BI processes and reports.