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Don’t blame the BI tools

I’ve heard some BI leaders this week complain of stalled innovation by the vendors. But Sid Adelman says, “I think the tools are fine… We’ve handed a Stradivarius to a kid after a couple of lessons and we wonder why the violin doesn’t sound so good.”

We’ve done a “shitty job” of the basics, he says. Too much metadata lacks adequate definitions and genealogy—resulting in distrust among business users—and testing and training are too often done poorly.

The most troublesome basic is the human factor. “The organizational and cultural issues will screw us every time,” he says. People who don’t like each other but have to work together, for example, will too often let their adversaries crash on the rocks at the organization’s expense.

For that, one banking executive Sid knew of found a solution. Five of his managers ran the ATM operation, and they hated each other. The executive one day announced that henceforth no one got bonuses if any of their metrics sank below acceptable levels. Suddenly, the five managers and their teams found harmony.

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