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Successful Business Intelligence: Secrets to Making BI a Killer App 1st Edition

10 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-0071498517
ISBN-10: 0071498516
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Editorial Reviews

From the Back Cover

In today's highly competitive global economy, actionable business intelligence (BI) is crucial to success. Yet while many companies have made substantial investments in BI infrastructure, few employees are taking advantage of the powerful BI tools they have at their fingertips. This is because technology is only part of a truly successful, company-wide BI strategy. Executive support, an analytic culture, and strong business-IT partnerships and collaboration are among the many other facets that make up a winning end-to-end BI initiative.

Written by industry analyst and BI consultant Cindi Howson, Successful Business Intelligence: Secrets to Making BI a Killer App reveals how to get the most value out of your BI investments. The book draws on exclusive survey data and real-world case studies of BI success stories at Continental Airlines, The Dow Chemical Company, Corporate Express, 1-800 CONTACTS, and other companies to identify proven BI best practices you can put to use in your organization, including:

  • Gaining executive support and aligning your BI strategy with business goals
  • Organizing BI teams and experts for success
  • Choosing the best BI tools to meet user and business needs
  • Improving data quality so decision-makers trust the BI solution
  • Finding the relevance of BI to all employees, including front-line workers
  • Using agile development processes to deliver BI capabilities and improvements at the speed of business
  • Measuring success in multiple ways

Business intelligence has the power to change people's way of working, to enable businesses to compete more effectively and efficiently, and to help non-profits stretch their dollars further. Successful Business Intelligence: Secrets to Making BI a Killer App holds the key to bringing technological innovations together with the people, processes, and culture of any organization in order to achieve a competitive and profitable BI strategy.


About the Author

Cindi Howson is the founder of BIScorecard, a website for in-depth BI product reviews, and has 15 years of BI and management reporting experience. She writes and blogs for Intelligent Enterprise, and is an instructor for The Data Warehousing Institute (TDWI). Prior to founding BIScorecard, Cindi was a manager at Deloitte & Touche and a BI standards leader for a Fortune 500 company. She has an MBA from Rice University


Product Details

  • Hardcover: 244 pages
  • Publisher: McGraw-Hill Osborne Media; 1 edition (November 26, 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0071498516
  • ISBN-13: 978-0071498517
  • Product Dimensions: 6.4 x 0.7 x 9.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (10 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #882,972 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Vice President of Research in BI and Analytics at Gartner, formerly founder of BI Scorecard, an independent analyst firm focused on helping customers select BI tools and manage their BI portfolio.

I grew up in NJ and MD and moved to Switzerland where I first began my career in BI in the early 1990s. Giving into the frustration of trying to build a BI application for income statement analysis that I didn't understand, I earned my MBA at Rice University in Houston, TX.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

29 of 29 people found the following review helpful By Richard Hackathorn on December 23, 2007
Format: Hardcover
Cindi Howson has impressed me as a thoughtful and knowledgeable professional who has contributed greatly to the BI field by living in the trenches, digging into the details, and teaching others about her experiences.

It is hard to find a comprehensive book on BI that is written without an impenetrable cloud of technical concepts. Ten years ago, successful BI depended on the expert execution of those technical concepts. However, BI has matured, increasing the importance of nontechnical factors for successful BI.

This book tracks this trend by clarifying the current success factors for successful BI projects. Oldies and goodies are covered, such as the necessity of executive support, data quality, and business-IT partnership. However, the real contribution lies in highlighting some of the new success factors, such as:

- Measuring Success: If you can not measure BI, you will not be successful. The book suggests numerous ways to measuring your BI effort.

- Role of Luck, Opportunity, Frustration and Threat: We hate to admit it, but BI projects are often successful (or not) for reasons beyond our control or even our imagination. Get over it! The book suggests ways of maximizing your success by making you aware of this dynamic.

- Agile Development: Do not build BI systems in the old traditional way. We all know this. But do we know a good alternative? The book outlines the Agile Manifesto to deliver early and continuous versions, embrace requirements changes, intensify person interactions, etc.

- Organizational Culture: Experienced BI professionals realize that some company cultures are so messed up that there is no way to have a successful BI project. Sad but true!
Read more ›
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19 of 20 people found the following review helpful By Lance Hokanson on November 9, 2008
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Secrets to making BI a killer app would be better worded "Secrets for a successful BI initiative" (though that is far less interesting). Howson concentrates on the practical aspects of building demand for BI, working through the politics/sponsorship, and team organization. Most of the information was very high level and though reinforced with real world examples provided little in the way of practical and actionable examples.

If you are new to BI management and looking for a project overview, I'd recommend the book. If you are looking details, technical examples, detailed case studies and steps of MAKING a killer BI app, not just describing the project, development and business buy-in process, I suggest you look elsewhere.

Of worthy note is the authors frequent recommendation of involving business users early and often, securing a strong sponsor, speaking business-speak, short iteration deployments and making sure the tool fits the job.
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8 of 10 people found the following review helpful By T. Powlas on June 21, 2008
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Excellent book defining BI best practices, how BI measures processes, BI for process improvement, defining what BI is, how to set up a BI strategy with real-life case studies.

I cannot tell you how many times I have referred to this book - it is dog-eared, post-it noted, and referred to many times in my daily life of working in Business Intelligence.

Cindi Howson explains what BI is, what agile is, what's worked well, what hasn't worked well, and there's a survey at the back of the book that I am anxious to use. For example, I have heard the term "agile BI" several times at trade shows but I never really understood it until I read this book.

This book is a must-read for those working in BI, managing BI, or those who need to strategize based on BI results. It is a fantastic book!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Rob Mol on July 11, 2009
Format: Hardcover
This book gives an excellent overview of the factors that are important for a successful implementation of Business Intelligence.
It is clearly written and supported with many examples.

The book is written from a business perspective.
So do not expect a lot of text about architecture, data modelling, technology etc. There are many good books about these subjects already.

I can recommend this book to almost all people involved in BI initiatives.
Of course it is impossible to write a book that is fit for every person involved in BI.
CEO's and CFO's will find too many details. For experienced BI-consultants there will be too less detail or too few new ideas. However the book can support these same BI-consultants by helping them in their communication with managers and end-users.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Darshil on August 3, 2010
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Excellent book if you are in Consulting industry. The book has some real good examples that can be useful while selling a BI project to clients. Additionally, these examples are useful in a situation when few stakeholders are reluctant to cooperate in a BI project.
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