Evaluate Weigh the pros and cons of technologies, products and projects you are considering.

Eckerson: BI team needs mix of IT and business skills to succeed

Although technical know-how is critical to the success of a business intelligence program, a business intelligence (BI) team also needs other skills, according to Wayne Eckerson, an industry analyst at TechTarget Inc. In this video interview recorded at TechTarget's BI Leadership Summit in New York last month, Eckerson discussed the less technical elements of BI success -- in particular, the need to straddle the fence between IT and business units.

"To me, reconciling opposites is the major challenge that business intelligence professionals face in delivering value to their organizations," Eckerson said, citing the tension between business and IT needs as the ultimate set of opposites that comes into play in BI initiatives. "Business really wants to move fast -- they want to meet customer needs -- whereas IT has been hired really to think long term: Secure the systems, scale the solution and make it available for everyone. A lot of times, those two worlds are in conflict." Ultimately, he added, IT staffers and business users "are on the same team, but they certainly don't act like it sometimes."

Eckerson said one of the keys to success is for BI managers and business executives to recognize when opposing BI forces are at play and take steps both organizationally and architecturally to bring them together.

He also emphasized that successfully managing a BI implementation requires understanding people and what motivates them. "You need to be an exquisite marketer [and] a great educator, and you really need to have some people skills. You or your team can come up with brilliant insights, but if you don't know how to communicate those and persuade the business to adopt them, then it's all for naught."

In the nine-minute interview, conducted by SearchBusinessAnalytics Executive Editor Scot Petersen, Eckerson offered further insight and advice on the capabilities that a BI team should have. In addition, he discussed Hadoop and other new technologies and what he thinks the next big development will be in the BI industry. Viewers of the video will:

  • Hear about the importance of reconciling opposites and being able to motivate participants in a BI project.
  • Get Eckerson's thoughts on the growing complexity of the BI technology landscape and how companies can keep up with the necessary business intelligence skills.
  • Learn when Hadoop can simplify a BI architecture.
  • Listen to Eckerson's predictions on what will replace predictive analytics as the new big thing in BI and analytics technology.

Text by Emma Preslar, editorial assistant. Email us at [email protected] and follow us on Twitter: @BizAnalyticsTT.

View All Videos