Definition

Agile business intelligence (BI)

Contributor(s): Brian Holak

Agile BI is an approach to business intelligence (BI) that incorporates Agile software development methodologies to accelerate and improve the outcomes of BI initiatives.

When an organization embraces Agile BI, it generally embeds Agile software developers in the organization’s business intelligence team. As with all Agile initiatives, BI projects are broken down into a series of smaller projects that are planned for, developed, tested and rolled out on a continuous basis. This iterative development approach facilitates continuous improvement and helps an organization adapt more quickly to changing market conditions and organizational goals. Each iteration of an Agile BI project is planned and reviewed by both the software development team and the business owners who have requested work. This close collaboration between business and IT results in better communication, clearly-defined goals and end results that more accurately meet expectations.

As with any Agile initiative, Agile BI tends to reduce total cost of change (TOC) and promote a culture that values reflection, accepts change and understands how to respond flexibly to shifts in organizational value. Because BI project iterations are released on a regular basis, changes to a business intelligence dashboard or data warehouse can be made functional in a matter of weeks or months, providing business users with the information they need to make data-driven decisions much faster than could be realized with a more traditional waterfall project approach.

This was last updated in November 2014

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