Avoid breaking the business intelligence disconnect between CEOs and IT

Business intelligence and BI reporting  is not a program or system, but a concept and a goal – the better you can define this concept and your goals, the more it will work for you and your organization.

Leading by intelligence and sensitivity

We are all motivated by inspirational leaders who are able to demonstrate intelligence as well as a sensitivity to human needs and motivations. Coldly calculating intelligence on its own can overlook the bigger picture that brings satisfaction with an accompanying sense of worth and value.

 According to the Oxford English Dictionary, intelligence refers to “the ability to acquire and apply knowledge and skills.” We extend this terminology with the ability to effectively communicate such acquired knowledge and skills with others as we do not live in a vacuum.

The cause of most problems and breakdowns in business does not stem from intelligence breakdowns, but from communication breakdowns.

 Knowledge and intelligence quickly come to a dead end if there are no other parties to exchange and analyze important data. Intelligence cannot thrive in isolation, but should be seen as a tool capable of enriching and expanding our current capabilities and operating framework.

The role of the CEO is to provide a rich and vibrant landscape where business intelligence has room to grow and spread its roots, always looking for new areas to explore and new opportunities to reveal.

The conflicting demands of the CEO

The Chief Executive Officer often juggles between pleasing shareholders and motivating their team. It would be ideal if shareholders and team players see themselves on the same side, but that is usually not the case.

 Shareholders are more interested in short-term results, prompting them to demand immediate information in the form of reports, many of which are designed to appease shareholders, not inform them.

 Unfortunately, this puts an unfair pressure on the CEO to provide the information the shareholders demand, typically leading to a barrage of demands on the IT team to prepare reportswhich provide only a partial and inaccurate picture.

 Even crazier for IT is the realization that these reports are being used as placebos to alleviate stockholders’ imaginary concerns, not to actually inform them of trends and directions forged by the company.

Because shareholders rarely see the true value and significance of business intelligence, they lack appreciation for this division. This, in turn, allows them to demand explanations from the CEO for the business intelligence budget, which they then want to scale back.

 This short-term approach, where costs are reduced simply because shareholders cannot appreciate the true value of such a system, leads to an inevitable drag on performance.

This kind of negative self-fulfilling prophesying limits your system’s intelligence capacity, making stakeholders even more right at the expense of future profits and performance.

Resolve conflicting requirements

While the CEO is accountable to both shareholders and employees, he is tasked with finding solid and reasonable solutions that will please the ever-impatient shareholders, while at the same time fulfilling the organization’s true function, which is to direct future growth towards more profit and participation with the world of trade.

Improving internal communication

Improving internal communication can open avenues for future success. Having the understanding and empathy of your IT team is more likely to communicate your needs effectively.

There is no need to make the shareholders bad guys; if your IT team sees them as less knowledgeable due to their minimal involvement in day-to-day operations, it’s easier to recruit your IT team to your side.

This also means you can stand on the board for them and support them when shareholders question their value and costs. Rather than giving in to their demands, better communication with your IT department allows you to speak with authority and knowledge about unreasonable demands.

Once shareholders are made aware of the cost and minimum value of outside reports they are demanding, such requests fall by the wayside. Many shareholder demands can be accepted acceptably with a “No,” followed by a clear explanation of why such a request is counterproductive.

Educate your C-Suite

Your C-Suite is not expected to use business intelligence, but it is certainly paramount that they understand and appreciate its value. Proper introduction and demonstration of the power of business intelligence, along with simple training to introduce your C-Suite to the true potential of this process, is crucial. Nothing can convince your C-Suite better than showing its capabilities.

Once your C-Suite understands the relevance and value of business intelligence, you will find that the use of data analytics and business intelligence has received a huge boost.