Integrating business intelligence (BI) software with a company’s array of productivity and information tools presents a unique challenge: maintaining an up-to-date and refined database. While cloud-based BI solutions offer automatic updates and seamless data integration from various sources, the necessity for internal ownership of the database is paramount. Without a dedicated custodian, BI projects are at risk of stagnation. Identifying a BI steward within your organization is crucial for the success of your BI endeavors.

Stewardship and Responsibility in BI

Ownership typically implies accountability. For instance, a warehouse manager oversees the warehouse operations, ensuring efficiency, safety, and productivity. Similarly, a bookkeeper or accountant ensures financial transactions are processed correctly. Each role carries the weight of ownership and the expectation of successful task completion.

Likewise, business intelligence systems require a designated individual to foster accountability. This person may not always come from the IT department but should possess certain qualities:

  1. A comprehensive understanding of BI’s significance to the company. If they don’t believe in the system, they won’t be committed to developing it.
  2. Familiarity with the Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) relevant to the BI system and the ability to track progress. There’s nothing less motivating than vague expectations and unmeasurable goals.
  3. The authority to sanction or reject requests for specialized programming or reports. This responsibility should come with increased authority to get things done.
  4. A commitment to maintaining data integrity, both incoming and outgoing. Data integrity is at the heart of a BI system.
  5. Proficiency in the entire BI system. You need someone who knows what they’re doing!
  6. Willingness to undergo advanced training to fully utilize the BI system. Technology changes rapidly, and your company needs to keep up.
  7. Inclusion of BI responsibilities in their formal job description, ensuring the tasks are prioritized and rewarded appropriately.

The final point is critical. If BI duties are added to an employee’s existing workload, they must be integrated into their regular responsibilities (without overloading the employee). Otherwise, these tasks risk being sidelined. Officially assigning BI tasks within a job description underscores their importance and ensures they receive due attention.

Is BI System Administration a Full-Time Role?

In smaller companies, BI administration duties are often combined with an employee’s other responsibilities. Larger organizations might consider a full-time BI system administrator role, since the system in question will likely also be larger and more complex.

Deciding whether to expand an existing employee’s role or create a new full-time position requires careful consideration of the advantages and disadvantages. Adding a position increases payroll expenses, and the company must ensure the workload justifies this cost. Recruitment and training for a new role can be time-consuming.

Conversely, overloading an existing employee with additional tasks can be problematic if they lack the time, skills, or interest in BI management. They may struggle to prioritize tasks or become overwhelmed with too many tasks. Each company must determine the best approach for its circumstances.

A BI system, like any other company system, performs optimally when managed internally. Assigning accountability to a specific employee enhances the likelihood of achieving desired outcomes. However, management must be sure to support this employee with the resources they need to complete the job well. Thoughtful decision-making regarding this responsibility can significantly contribute to BI success.

Need Some Assistance Implementing BI?

If you’re looking for assistance in selecting and implementing a BI system, our experts at ASI can provide expertise and support. We can guide you through the selection process to find a BI system that aligns with your business needs. For further information, please contact us or schedule your free consultation today.