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May 2012, Volume 13

BI projects require open mind, deft touch

The Real Niel Niel Nickolaisen If the myriad CIO surveys performed recently are to be believed, analytics projects are one of the CIO's top current priorities. I have found that one key to ensuring such business intelligence projects start and end well is remembering that analytics projects differ greatly from other types of IT projects. How are they different? Let me count the ways: 1. Analytics projects can be highly nuanced. Other IT projects -- accounting or production planning, for example -- follow a fairly well-understood process. Analytics projects, on the other hand, reflect the way humans make decisions. And because humans make decisions in a nearly infinite number of ways, analytics projects often do not follow a prescribed path. Instead of mapping business rules, transactions and workflows, analytics projects require that we stay in very close contact with our project stakeholders so the project can track to the meanderings of their human minds. 2. Analytics projects might evolve in unanticipated ways. Both the ...

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