Attitude and ROI

A positive attitude is important in any endeavor, whether it be in business, academics or athletics, but in business intelligence and data warehousing projects, where budgets depend on management's continued goodwill, attitude is essential. In his research, Wayne W. Eckerson, Director of Education and Research, The Data Warehousing Institute, sums it up: "the seeds of data warehousing failures are often sown in the attitudes and vision with which companies approach their data warehousing projects." (

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So why is attitude so important to the success of a BI or data warehousing project?

Business intelligence projects don't always have an immediate clear-cut benefit, so long-term confidence in the project from the top down is essential. Business intelligence is a multi-step process in which a level of understanding is required from executives, from IT, and even from those handling customer service or data entry. If executives can't see the benefit or IT isn't comfortable with the infrastructure, the enterprise as a whole won't have the commitment required for success.

So how is success measured?

Calculating ROI for BI projects has never been easy or definitive. Now it can be even harder. In today's economic environment creating a positive attitude for something that will require patience and resources can be a difficult sell to business managers fixated on the bottom line.

So how positive do you need to be to get a business intelligence project off the ground in today's economic slowdown? Well according to Mr. Eckerson, "a case can be made that companies should increase spending on data warehousing and business intelligence projects during economic downturns. Why? In turbulent times, companies need more information, not less, to make swift, accurate decisions to navigate rough waters without capsizing. Truly enlightened companies will increase spending on information projects designed to increase their peripheral vision and accuracy of strategic and tactical decision making." (http://www.dw-institute.com/resourceguide2001/roi.htm)

Knowledge is the ultimate return on investment. Knowledge to make the right business decisions can have a much greater effect on overall business success than the costs of gaining that knowledge.

But if the future of your business intelligence project depends on your ability to prove ROI, check out the Data Warehousing Institute's Solution Providers Directory for a comprehensive list of links to companies that can help: http://www.dw-institute.com/resourceguide2001/directory/index.htm

This was first published in September 2001

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