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Webinar Preview: Leadership Essentials in Successful Business Intelligence (BI) Programs
Posted on August 8, 2016
Author: Kirby Lunger, Performance Architects

I discussed this topic earlier this year at the COLLABORATE conference, and it was such a hot topic that I’m now running webinars for both Oracle Application Users Group (OAUG) and Oracle Developer Tools Users Group (ODTUG) to expand upon this discussion.  If you want to join me live to dive deeper into the content outlined below, you can register for the OAUG webinar to be held on August 10, 2016 at 3:00 PM EDT here or the ODTUG webinar on August 11, 2016 at 12 PM EDT here.

All too often, the organizational change impact is underestimated in BI programs and projects. Specific leadership techniques are essential to successful change management activities, such as: conducting assessments; communicating effectively; leveraging influence relationships; and planning and achieving user adoption. If these techniques are adopted and applied appropriately, they result in much higher success rates in BI programs.

Leadership versus Management

Leadership and management can be approached from the perspective of WHAT work is completed and HOW that work is completed.  The “what” of leadership is vision and the “how” of leadership is “inspiration,” while the “what” of management is execution and the “how” of management is control.  The detailed differences between these areas include:

These concepts overlap, however, in that both leaders and managers still need to get important stuff done!


Applying Leadership Styles to BI Initiatives: Lessons from Star Wars

We use a matrix with quadrants associated with our favorite Star Wars characters to illustrate leadership / management styles; as you can see, the strengths in one quadrant are often the weakness in the mirror quadrant (similar to the dark and light sides of “the Force” in Star Wars!):

How to Structure Your BI Initiative Based on Leadership Principles

These leadership principles can be applied to a real-life customer example:

  • The company. A business-to-business company needed to get visibility into sales forecasts versus actual performance in a tight economy
  • The audience. Sales, Finance & Accounting, and senior management
  • The issues. Data lived in multiple systems (e.g., CRM, GL, email) and was pulled together in spreadsheets for “snapshot” reports on an infrequent basis…which meant that sales didn’t know how it was performing towards goals, and management had no idea what overall corporate performance was going to be!
  • The need. Create an environment where people could see information appropriate to their role, in a more real-time, accurate, and comprehensive fashion

We followed an iterative project process based on these leadership principles:

The result was a happy customer, with outcomes including:

  • Implemented a data mart and new reporting and analysis solution that provides both dashboards and reports
  • Improved data governance
  • Improved business processes for data entry (as a result of data quality issues found in the source data)
  • Created a multi-phase roadmap with future goals and objectives beyond sales reporting and analysis
  • Developed ongoing conversations about the future performance management inside the customer’s organization and they’re considering enterprise-wide rollout of a BI solution!

How we applied leadership principles during the project:


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