Thursday, 11 March 2010

Can your Business Intelligence team be too good for your organisation ?

Firstly, I don't think for a second I am too good, but I suspect my team is 'too good' for our organisation.

What do I mean by this ? We have been quite a successful business intelligence team delivering to various areas of the business for the last couple of years so when management decided to put in a new multi-million dollar billing system we were brought in from the start to integrate this into out BI world.

And here is where things started to go wrong.  Because we have more experience and skill in extracting data from our various systems, we were quickly roped into the data extraction, cleansing and migration tasks.  Because the application vendor was too expensive in developing interfaces to our other systems and to external organisations, these became deliverables of the data warehouse.  It has ended up that we are now responsible for 75% of technical tasks on the implementation of this new billing system.

Now we are receiving a lot of praise and thanks from management, but we no longer have capacity to cover the BI work we had planned for this financial year.  Our people are getting frustrated and we are starting to lose staff.

The billing system still has another 3-6 months of work to complete (not counting any BAU tasks we may be left with at the end) and most of our team are out of patience.

I have tried to think of ways we can get out of this and back to our core area, but short of us screwing op royally (which we would never do intentionally) I can't see how we can convince management to let us return to our core area.

Any ideas ?  Have you been in this situation and what did you do about it ?


Humour For All Occasions said...

Love your Blog Leigh

It sounds like you need to assess your value and get your prices up.

Being a business information specialist team means being the guys who go and get the data.

Business intellegence experts on the other hand means you are the guys who make the data valuable and use it for action to grow the business. They are worth more.

Frst I would begin just checking you are not become lazy and have reverted to the easy stuff.

If you still have what it takes then change your tack and ask people want they want the data for and then look for ways to show them how to use what they have instead, before you say yes.

Unless you want to remain the go fetch team you better start learning some hard questions that lift the bar and justify your rates.

Otherwise you are not worth what you say you are worth and your company will soon be looking for someone to be that.

Consultants are high priced for that reason so they only do high end work.

Bottom line is it sounds like you need to up your price and also suggest your company get someone cheaper to do that job.

Or maybe you can split your team and take an end to end business approach with the high end being the businsss advisory team. Then you will justify to yourself what data you are wasting your time on and stop playin go fetch.

And hindsight 20/20 vision is great teacher. Believe me I am no fool having been one of the best in the past. Best at being a fool that is!!

Hope that helps

keep up the great posts


Gordon Wood

Leigh Kennedy said...

Well its not consultancy work at the moment - it's for my employer, so upping the rates is not an option..

But your points are quite relevant, the question is how to have the conversation with management without it becoming a 'do this or I quit' kind of conversation.

gg said...


Your situation is quite a common occurrence in the industry. "Hey! this is broken, lets fix this first" or "Hey! we don't have resources for this, can you take care of this for a while".

It is just frustrating and you can't do much about it. The best thing to do is probably to fix the problem forever (an engineering feat!) so that you can return to your area of expertise and interest. Set processes in place, hire people specifically for those kind of tasks, setup a team if required and most importantly show the management what value they are missing out by you not working on your areas of expertise. And yes it is never too easy and you need a lot of patience!