ski_sunset.jpgIn 2001, a group of software developers got together at a ski lodge to discuss a better way to develop software. The outcome was the Agile Manifesto, a constitution for a new way to build software. What followed was the agile movement, which values:

  • Individuals and interactions over processes and tools
  • Working software over comprehensive documentation
  • Customer collaboration over contract negotiation
  • Responding to change over following a plan

I know a number of organisations that struggle with developing an agile mindset. And I don’t mean the agile methodology such as scrum but simply an agile mindset and culture. There’s a ton of reasons why this is challenging for so many businesses out there, many of which are cultural, including a lack of vision for innovation at management levels and the classic business versus IT syndrome. Focus on the word “versus” in the last phrase! It’s hard to drive collaboration; it’s tough to change the status quo; it's difficult to get IT practitioners themselves to move away from “following the process” to a paradigm that says “how can I deliver to the business faster and cheaper, applying proper governance?”

Five Keys to Ending the Battle Between Business and IT ebook

Desire for change without direction

It's interesting to reflect on what is happening within the BI space. Everyone, but everyone, wants to unlock the potential of gaining insights from both within their corporate data as well as data from external sources such as social media. Market pressures have forced a change from the old paradigm of enterprise data warehouses that took years and a lot of money to develop and to support to the new paradigm of data visualisation and democratised data access throughout the organisation. It’s been like a gold rush of data visualisation technologies and big data constructs. Many ambitious projects still struggle or at best provide a limited insight relative to the vast knowledge locked away in their own corporate data. Cost, timelines and reliability of data still remain.

Old ways die hard

One major issue has been a lack of focusing on technology architectures that deliver a sustainable, supportable, adaptable ‘single source of truth’ data repository of the vast corporate data that exists in the organisation, which lies fragmented and duplicated across a complex IT estate. And another is the continued difficulty of creating a mindset of agility across the organisation.

To make big change, start small. Create a shining and low-cost example that makes the rest of the organisation stand up and take notice.

Start with an easy win

Solve the technology issue as a first step. Invest in automation that is capable of delivering a discovery hub architecture rapidly, at lower cost and that is sustainable, supportable and easily scalable. TimeXtender’s Discovery Hub is a proven full automation solution to build data pipelines from disparate source systems, creating a single source of truth repository that becomes your discovery hub.

Automation can cut timelines and cost drastically. Focus on a small area of the business, create a collaborative team of IT and business users and build a valuable data repository which becomes a discovery hub for the given business area. The combination of automation and collaboration enables building the discovery hub in short, rapid iterations. Exploit the hub by adding data analysis applications using data visualisation technologies such as Qlik (leveraging TimeXtender’s capability to automate the build of Qlik models). The short, rapid iterations, continually adding new sources to the hub, will start delivering rapid value to the business, delivering timely analysis of the data to users. When this value becomes apparent throughout the organisation, you would have set the foundations to build an enterprise scale discovery hub architecture, expanding outwards into the enterprise from the initial business area.

Case study: DirectRelief leverages Discovery Hub to help relieve global poverty

BI Automation, a reality with TimeXtender’s Discovery Hub technology, can be a route to achieve agile collaboration. In short, it can be a change agent to seed a mindset of agility and innovation. Such a mindset is crucial to creating HGCs (High Growth Companies), crucial in modern economic times.