Val Matison is the CIO of business intelligence experts Info3, based in Toronto, Canada. With nearly 30 years of business analytics experience, he is recognized as an expert in creating actionable information from data. He has presented sessions on data warehousing, data mining and analysis services at Comdex, Devdays, Microsoft Technical Summits and conferences in North America and Europe. He is the lead architect of InfoViewer Technology, the view anywhere business analytics and graphics platform that visually associates key performance indicators and metrics in context with the business environment in which they were created.

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This is my first entry on the Canadian IT manager's site. I'll primarily be talking about my experiences with Business Intelligence (BI). I've worked in the tech sector for nearly thirty years, focusing on database applications. If you like what I say, tell your friends, if not then tell me. I would love to hear from you.

My work is focused on analytics and data mining with the goal of extracting actionable information from databases. Most companies don't know how to get information from their databases. They typically throw tools at their troubles and think that will help them get more information. Let's pay $50,000 for the latest server software and another $250 per seat and 17% in annual maintenance because that's what will help us out of our information mess.

I had coffee this morning with a CFO of a company that does one billion in annual revenues. They purchased an analytics product and found out the seats they paid for weren't being used and that all reporting was being performed in Excel. Sound familiar? We like Excel for analytics applications but if you bought a high priced BI suite why aren't you using it? The point of this is that you can't just install business intelligence without a plan. If you do you are likely just throwing your money away. There has to be structure and methodology and follow up to ensure your BI implementation is meeting your objectives.

Installing a Business Intelligence solution without preparation doesn't make any sense from a practical or technical perspective. A solution must have guidance from the consumers of the information combined with direction from the implementers. It must be flexible and whoever implements the solution must understand that today's version won't be the last. Today's market leader is tomorrow's market follower. Do we want market share, or is profitability key?

Businesses change the way they work to remain competitive and to move with the economic times. BI systems have to change with the business in order to remain effective.

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Val, Thanks for sharing your insight and experience in the industry.

Val's personal blog can be found at: http://valmatison.blogspot.com/.

Thanks,
Barnaby