Executives in every industry and sector are increasingly being asked to help make strategic IT decisions. A commonly asked question is “how can we use technology to strengthen our competitive advantage?”
Two popular technologies being used by companies today are data discovery and business intelligence. Both technologies are used to turn raw data into useful information. Both can help strengthen a competitive advantage— but each serves a unique purpose.
Although these technologies are related, it’s important to note that data discovery is not business intelligence. Data discovery tools are very popular today because they extend the capability of individuals to contribute by identifying trends and patterns that lead to new discoveries about the world. These discoveries can be very valuable.
Data discovery is based on direct access to internal, external and sometimes mashed up information. It relies on users being able to plot their own path without the involvement and hindrance of the IT department. It is very popular today because it is very valuable.
The down side of data discovery is that data isn’t perfect and even if it is today, it may not be tomorrow.
Additionally, most business users aren’t really as good at analysis as they may think they are.
A CIO who tries to use a data discovery tool for business intelligence may be in for some hard times down the road.
Business intelligence is a bit different. BI is about deciding where you want to go as an organization and what steps it will take you to get there. It is a mixture of technology and process that allows organizations to determine what is important, create the right measurements, monitor, and make the adjustments needed to steer organizations towards their goals. Success is often the result of the activities that we pursue and BI allows executives to clearly communicate and measure activity and monitor results.
CIOs should consider taking advantage of data discovery and business intelligence to empower your staff, and to incorporate successful discoveries into the fabric of the business when they make the grade.
By taking advantage of both data discovery and business intelligence, executives can help turn a short-term discovery into a long-term technical competitive advantage, with accurate data and trackable milestones to ensure success.