Since its inception decades ago, the primary objective of business intelligence has been the
creation of a top-down single source of truth from which organizations would centrally track
KPIs and performance metrics with static reports and dashboards. This stemmed from the
proliferation of data in spreadsheets and reporting silos throughout organizations, often
yielding different and conflicting results. With this new mandate, BI-focused teams were
formed, often in IT departments, and they began to approach the problem in the same manner
as traditional IT projects, where the business makes a request of IT, IT logs a ticket, then
fulfills the request following a waterfall methodology.
While this supplier/consumer approach to BI appeared to be well-suited for the task of
centralizing an organization’s data and promoting consistency, it sacrificed business agility.
There was a significant lag between the time the question was asked, and the time the
question was answered. This delay and lack of agility within the analysis process led to
lackluster adoption and low overall business impact.
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