I help coach my daughter’s soccer team. For a recent match there were several players who could not participate due to the scheduling conflicts 15 year old girls seem to have in the summer. In order to field enough players for this important match, I recruited 3 girls from a younger team in our club, an option allowed by league rules.
Although our regular team members handled the bulk of the work during the match, these “guest” players were very skillful and helped us take our level of play up a notch to ensure the win.
In the world of Business Intelligence, “guest players” can also make a positive impact. Whether yours is an organization with an established BI capability or one that is considering development of a reporting and analytics competency, bringing in knowledgeable resources makes a lot of sense.
How can guest players help?
For an existing BI shop
Our firm has had a number of engagements with organizations that have been on the BI journey for some time. Occasionally, our role is pure staff augmentation. However, the most productive instances have been collaborative ventures in which we have helped improve skills and processes in the client’s operation. Having experienced a wide variety of BI situations in different types of organizations, we shared perspectives and techniques that helped the existing staff members take their game to the next level.
Just Starting Out?
There are two types of approaches to using guest players in an organization just beginning to develop a reporting and analytics capability. The first is to bring in the consultants to do everything. However, when the project is over and the consultants leave, chaos ensues. Why? Because the necessary infrastructure and processes have not become part of the organization’s DNA. In other words, the level of internal expertise has not sufficiently developed to sustain the initial effort. Another ending to this story is the consultants never leave because the organization has become dependent on them. Both outcomes are very expensive in that uncomfortable, unbudgeted sort of way.
A far better approach is to engage a knowledgeable partner in creating an internal Business Intelligence competency. This requires that a longer-term view that envisions a robust reporting and analytics environment driven by experienced internal resources. The learning curve for getting to that point is one in which organization is gradually less dependent on consulting assistance to provide the required decision support power.
This option, too, is not inexpensive. However, planned as a long-term strategy, the costs can be rationally mapped out over time with an eye to weaning the organization away from the consultants. This does not mean that you’ll never need to bring on guest players again. Rather, it means that future consulting engagements can be targeted to areas where skills and processes can be improved as noted above.