As a young boy in the mid-80’s, I often found myself cheering the G.I. JOE team during their epic battles against the evil Cobra organization. At the end of each episode, after hundreds of laser blasts that never seemed to hit anything and the only casualty being Cobra Commander’s ego due to another foiled plot of world domination, there was a short range of scenes dedicated to the life instruction of the JOE followers. Typically, there were some kids playing with old dynamite or something and a member of team JOE would come from behind some random tree and tell them that it was dangerous to play with such things, brilliant. Each life lesson concluded with the kids stating, “Now we know.” and the JOE member responding in kind, “And knowing is half the battle.”
Several decades later, I was working a contract building dashboards for the world’s largest manufacturer of surface-to-air missiles. I must say, building supply chain metrics measuring the assembly of classified guidance systems was way better than how many purchase orders are 90-days past due. However, during my time consulting for this company, I found that their challenge was not how to make insanely smart weapons; it was how to “manage” their massive BI implementation. Never mind the complexity of the system, let’s talk about a more serious issue that doesn’t reside in the cloud or on some server in the back room.
Implementing the right BI solution, holistically, is only half the battle. I can’t tell you how many dashboards I created that were based on antiquated measures from years past simply because “that is how we’ve always done it.” When upper management halted our project mid-stream, asking department managers to review and optimize all metrics used to measure their respective businesses, that was when the real work began. Tough questions usually yield tough answers. For years, departmental goals (and bonus structures) revolved around metrics that they were comfortable being measured against. Now, after review, those metrics were no longer the best indicators of their success. Their business had changed even though their processes remained relatively the same. But how can they change directions now? Millions of dollars had been invested in BI server licensing, developer hours to build databases and dashboards every change request is a massive production in the IT circus, what now? The underlying data is still good, that isn’t the issue but they way they want to see the data has shifted.
Traditional BI is like a huge oil tanker: expensive, slow and difficult to maneuver once given an original heading. Are you letting the lethargic nature of your BI solution control your business? Are you managing your business the best way or the old way? If you are contemplating those questions in your mind and finding that your BI solution is more of a hindrance than a help to your business, this is when I come out from behind a tree or parachute from the sky and tell you that there is a better way. Domo has arrived, and now you know and knowing is half the battle.