IT & Operations

"BI’s right to exist rests with the Business”

May 7, 2015

Although Business Intelligence is a technologically mature field, when it comes to the use of analysis there is still room for improvement, says Daan van Beek.

He is the founder of BI specialist Passionned and the new professor in the TIAS Master of Information Management program. Van Beek wants to specifically teach the TIAS participants how business intelligence can make an organization permanently smarter.

What will you do at TIAS?

"Business Intelligence is a field that currently receives quite a lot of attention. The topic has been dominated by a technical approach for years. This has changed in recent years. Now, I more and more hold discussions with companies on how we can profile the field better or how we can interpret the B part of BI – the Business – better. We talk about the effect information has on the control or optimization of processes. Or about changing your business model around. Because you may make very beautiful BI dashboards, but if they do not even get discussed in the MT, what's then the point of that visualization?"

Finding nuggets of gold with BI

“That is what I want to teach the participants of the program. BI is a wonderful tool to find gold nuggets, but once you find them you do have to do something with them. That is what I want to discuss with the group. How is it possible that all factual information is available but still not get used? What can you as an information manager do to influence decision making?"

Does the hype about Big Data make it easier to clarify the importance of BI?

“Because of Big Data there is more talk about data visualization. After all, Big Data starts with BI. You can only successfully deploy data if you have performed analysis. And by deploying large amounts of data in a smart way you can also make an organization smarter and more agile.

BI can lead to confusion

But the term also leads to confusion. Big Data is also about data that is not necessarily inside the systems. It is also about external data. You can find company data in the company’s data warehouses, while in Big Data you perform analysis immediately and do not save the data. Big Data actually introduces an additional manifestation of Business Intelligence."

How mature is the field of Business Intelligence?

"In technological terms, the field is mature. And data visualization has really taken off in recent years. However, the field’s right to exist is in the B; what does an organization do with all that data? This is where the challenge lies and there is still ample room for improvement."

Smart organizations are scarce

Do you have an example of an organization that uses BI well?

"My company has been organizing the ‘Smartest Organization of the Netherlands’ competition for more than ten years." There are some smart organizations, but they are quite rare. Coolblue is one example of a smart organization. They can predict fairly well what a customer will click on and whether or not he or she will place an order. Last year the title of "Smartest Organization of the Netherlands" went to the fire department of Amsterdam-Amstelland. They use data to predict where a fire may break out and visit those houses to give advice. This is a major change to their business model.

The challenge is how to stay smart. This means that as a company you must have a culture which supports continuous efforts to improve and innovate on the basis of data. And this brings your organization lasting benefits and results. And then it becomes increasingly difficult for competitors to copy the business model."

Do you also want to make your organization permanently smarter? Daan van Beek will teach in the TIAS Master of Information Management program (MIM).

I want to know more about this program

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