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Claudia Imhoff

Welcome to my blog.

This is another means for me to communicate, educate and participate within the Business Intelligence industry. It is a perfect forum for airing opinions, thoughts, vendor and client updates, problems and questions. To maximize the blog's value, it must be a participative venue. This means I will look forward to hearing from you often, since your input is vital to the blog's success. All I ask is that you treat me, the blog, and everyone who uses it with respect.

So...check it out every week to see what is new and exciting in our ever changing BI world.

About the author >

A thought leader, visionary, and practitioner, Claudia Imhoff, Ph.D., is an internationally recognized expert on analytics, business intelligence, and the architectures to support these initiatives. Dr. Imhoff has co-authored five books on these subjects and writes articles (totaling more than 150) for technical and business magazines.

She is also the Founder of the Boulder BI Brain Trust, a consortium of independent analysts and consultants (www.BBBT.us). You can follow them on Twitter at #BBBT

Editor's Note:
More articles and resources are available in Claudia's BeyeNETWORK Expert Channel. Be sure to visit today!

I just got back from the Teradata user conference - PARTNERS -- in not-so-sunny Orlando. The weather was not the greatest but the conference, in which 3200 attendees showed up, sure was. From an excruciatingly funny keynote address given by Scott Adams (creator of the Dilbert comic strip) to numerous informative sessions to interesting conversations in between sessions with customers and employees of Teradata, it was a most enjoyable time. Here is a highlight from just one session I attended. It was given by Mohan Sawhney, a professor at the Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University.

Dr. Sawhney's presentation was entitled "Synchronizing to Transform Your Business". His premise was that forecasting your business trends out 3 to 5 years is a thing of the past. He believes that a company must be able to respond to any situation and be able to detect the direction of customers, markets, even the competition, much faster. The increased velocity of data moving through organizations has forever changed the business paradigm. It is now critical to build more flexibility and efficiency into business processes and models if a company is to survive.

He uses the Darwin theory of evolution as an analogy. Most of us probably think that Darwin said only the strongest will survive. That is actually incorrect. What he theorized was that the fittest or those that are best at adapting to their environments will survive. A big difference. You don't have to be the strongest -- just the fastest to adapt to a changing environment. Transfer that idea to businesses and you get the idea that if your company is not the biggest but is more flexible and agile, then it can react faster than its bigger competitors to a moving marketplace -- eventually eclipsing and surpassing its slower moving "big brothers".

To do this, your business paradigm must change from the "Make and Sell" model of the past (think Henry Ford) to the new "Sense and Respond" one. The company must be able to sense what markets and customers really want, that is -- to understand the patterns in buying behaviors, the trends in markets, the reactions of your competitors, etc. -- so you can respond more quickly and appropriately. This is where a well engineered business intelligence environment comes into play.

The agile enterprise must be able to sense and respond quickly to opportunities and threats in its environment. How? The way to do this is to change from:

1. Sequential to synchronous information flows
2. Batch to right-time updates (the right data at the right time to make the right decision)
3. Chains to "hubs" in the company's process architecture
4. Enterprise automation to value network optimization

This last step -- value network optimization -- means recognizing that most business processes span beyond your company to include suppliers, partners and customers. Business processes, including your BI environment, must be redesigned and optimized to include the full value chain. Each link -- supplier, partner, customer, and employee -- must have be able to operate and make good decisions at the right time which means having access to the right data.

If you want to get more information on this topic and how you can begin the process of creating a value network synchronized enterprise, please read a companion paper written by Dr. Sawhney's colleagues, Ranjay Gulati from Kellogg and David Kletter from Booz Allen entitled "Shrinking Core, Expanding Periphery: The Relational Architecture of High-Performing Organizations" published in California Management Review. I highly recommend it.

Yours in BI success,


Posted September 21, 2005 9:02 AM
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