Making Business Intelligence Work - a book review

Effective business intelligence can help leaders make performance enhancing decisions. Viet-Hai Phung reviews a report that describes a 'new frontier' for information and knowledge management.

Business Intelligence - a key strand in information strategy

Recent research carried out by an NHS organisation highlighted that the failure to transform its vast stores of data and information into actionable intelligence was costing up to 5% of its annual operational costs.  Poor corporate memory, deficient legal discovery and poor skills retention were all problems that needed intelligence-led solutions.

During the ongoing economic downturn, organisational information estates have to be leveraged. Information managers, project officers and records staff need to consider a missing piece of the corporate information strategy programme - business intelligence.

Once considered by some to be the domain of IT specialists,  Business Intelligence (BI) has emerged as a vital strand of information strategy. Specifically it can provide the evidence base for intelligence-led decision making.

Integrating information strategies

Failure to Robin Smith and Dion Lindsay are looking to re-think information strategy. This report highlights the historical failure to recognise that vast volumes of internally-held data could aid decision-making.  To that end, the report proposes solutions. The publication focuses on extending corporate information strategy to integrate intelligence and information management, with a plethora of tools and techniques to aid information officers.

The key chapters review BI technology and how these supporting tools can be directed to improve information and intelligence management. The array of technology tools are reviewed and considered as part of a strategy process that tackles development and deployment to harmonise the information estate. A series of 'intelligence in action' case studies illuminate the ideas at the heart of this publication. These case studies review such diverse areas as retail banking, law enforcement, customer services and cutting edge technologies.

Maximising current investments

One of the key issues tackled relates to improving on the current investments made by organisations. Rather than starting anew, a key chapter reviews how value can be measured and derived from current BI resources.

This publication offers some valuable insights but does heavily emphasise compliance requirements.  In addition, more detail on the current BI vendors would be useful. However, the authors have produced a publication filled with ideas, tools and innovative techniques to ensure that BI becomes a key dimension of corporate information strategy.

Making Business Intelligence Work  by Dion Lindsay and Robin Smith is published by the Ark Group and is available from

Viet-Hai Phung is a Research Associate at Loughborough University.

'Recycle' image courtesy of The Lane Team via Flickr.