Business Intelligence or Change Management?

Poorly functioning Business Intelligence can be the symptom of a broken organisation. This manifests itself in different ways. It can show itself in hostility, as people stubbornly stick to the solutions and the ‘old ways’ that give them comfort – and sometimes, even power.  If an organisation is moving from a small organisation to a larger organisation, the adolescent growing pains can be simply too much for some people. In my role as a consultant who implements end-to-end Business Intelligence solutions,  I often find resistance to change. 

This can take many forms. For example, team members can start to find excuses not to do things, or can alternatively stretch timelines and activities, or exaggerate the difficulties of new technology, in order to stay where they are.

Change the people.... or change the people?

I worked with one CTO who was at the end of their tether with Digital Transformation efforts. Their comment: ‘if we can’t change the people, we change the people’. This assertion gives me pause since, unfortunately, sometimes the option to ‘change the people’ is the only way to root out bad and lazy practices. This issue is a performance issue. While I agree that in rare cases, sometimes, that’s the option you are left with. However, I hope to try and help organizations so that they don’t get to that point. 

Computer says 'no'....

It’s easy to blame the reports or broken data. However, it’s often the case that Business Intelligence is where the resistance to Change is most evident. Occasionally, the problems in a Business Intelligence function are the visible symptom of problems elsewhere in the organisation. It can be envisaged like a blocked route of water; the debris can be washed up, and appear visible in the Business Intelligence sphere.

Thus, what initially seems to be a Business Intelligence problem, is actually a Change Management problem. Working practices can require a change in order to keep up with an organisation that is moving fast, and requires high-performance Business Intelligence. The reality, however, can be quite different. This means, of course, that a Business Intelligence program might actually be premature for some organisations; instead, they might need a Change Management program, of which Business Intelligence is a part.

Change Management or Business Intelligence?

How is it possible to deal with this issue? The main thing is to recognise a Change Management problem when you see one, rather than perceive it as a Business Intelligence problem simply because it involves data or reports. It also depends if you can re-envisage ‘broken’.

We see ‘brokenness’ as a bad thing. However, when we consider the Hindu Goddess Akhilandeshvari, we can start to see that there is power in being broken. Akhilandeshvari keeps Herself constantly broken, constantly reflecting light, and constantly moving. She does not accept the limits of staying still.

Starting from a point of being broken presents us with an opportunity to shine like a prism, and to light up more than we ever did before. Being broken leads us to transformation, to moving forward. We find our limitations, and we don’t accept them. Being broken allows organisations to start to flow, to create and re-create, and to find new possibilities by throwing out light. The opposite of change is staying still, but for some people – like me – staying still will never be enough.

Next steps on your Change Management and Business Intelligence journey

Like the Red Queen in Alice in Wonderland, change can mean that people simply running on the spot, rather than ‘running twice as fast’ in order to move forward with the organisation. Change isn’t always a bad thing, and it shouldn’t be assumed that a problem in a Business Intelligence sphere is BI problem – perhaps it is a Change Management issue. Perhaps it is time to think about it in a different way.

If you’d like some help in knitting the business-oriented change management with business intelligence, please do get in touch. 

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