Focus on Business Relevance


Improved business decision making requires focus and flexibility

Mike Wheeler

Many companies are in search of the holy grail of being a more agile business.  But, those same organizations are trapped in traditional decision support cycles and have fallen into a rut of “business as usual”.  Knowledge workers are capable of answering any questions rapidly for which supporting data is available and accessible.  They are also capable of expressing their requirements for additional data that’s needed to support their next generation of questions – or are they?

A business decision-maker’s requirements can only be as good as what they were able to learn from the last decision that they made and can only see ahead as far as that latest decision will allow them to.  That means that articulating full blown requirements for data needed for analysis is a nearly impossible task.  The resultant requirement is typically more along the lines of “since I don’t know what the next business condition is likely to be, give me everything and I’ll figure it out later”.  Wrong Answer!  This line of thinking undermines the goal of agility.  It takes too long to deliver and produces a lot of noise that must be sorted through to find the valuable signal.  We need to encourage iterative questioning and short term deliverables rather than big bang deliveries that are often far too late and miss the mark in delivering their true business value (usually because the problem they were originally designed to solve has now morphed into a different problem).

Market conditions, competitive pressures, regulatory concerns, and disruptive forces of all sorts are constantly stressing an enterprise’s ability to assess, react, and respond.  That means that we need the ability to think outside the box (better to stop drawing boxes, but let’s walk before we run).  This requires an ability to focus on a narrowly scoped, high-value issue, decompose the issue into its component parts, assess the risk and execute to address the problem head on – very rapidly.  Then, move on to the next problem.

Identifying a high-value (analytical) target and establishing its business relevance is a key step in this thought process.  Asking the basic questions of; “what is the outcome I am looking to affect”, “why is it relevant to the business”, “who is the audience that will make use of my information”, “how does it relate to my business performance objectives”, “where can I source the data from” – all to answer a single set of related questions.  Anything not required to produce the necessary outcome is out of scope.

Focus on business relevance

Targeting a problem in this way requires the ability for business people to be able to manipulate data quickly, intuitively, iteratively and accurately.  Unlock business decision making from the confines of a rigid physical data structure and open the doors to true Business Information Modeling.  The coupling of semantic meaning and data content is your most powerful weapon in achieving business agility.  Take a look at our video which explains how the power of Kalido’s Business Information Modeler can unlock your agile potential and improve the tempo of your organization’s data-centric decision making.

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  1. There is no such thing as “Unstructured Analysis” | Kalido Conversations - February 25, 2013

    [...] criteria and metrics determined to be relevant to the business (for more on Business Relevance see Mike Wheeler’s blog post).  In other words, it is not enough to know what information you have, you also need to know how [...]

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