It’s a new year! We saw big changes in the world, for better or for worse. Hopefully this year all changes will be for the better. Throughout all the changes, we see one common denominator: change is driven by the power of the many. When it comes to Business Intelligence, there is a major shift happening. Organizations are moving away from federated BI and towards centralized BI. One of the main reasons this is happening is because federated BI does not empower the many. On the contrary, it thwarts connection and collaboration.
Federated BI is also known as “working in desktops”. Different departments and individuals have their own IT systems and their own BI solutions. By working in separated desktops, users work in silos. They create multiple copies and versions of the same files and data gets messy.
On the other hand, centralized BI is all about users working together. Everyone works in one unified web solution, where business analysts can benefit from self-service capabilities while IT governs over the data to ensure data accuracy and security. It makes data management and sharing a lot easier, improves data security, and empowers the many.
While in federated BI, the insights found stay in the desktop of one analyst, in centralized BI the knowledge is shared across the organization. The organization as a whole gets smarter as people work together.
Making Decisions Together
As a general rule, business should have authority over what services are delivered and IT must have authority over how the services are delivered. This allows business to take care of business, not wasting time on technical skills that are not in their area of expertise. And IT stops wasting time creating time consuming reports, and focuses on the correct implementation of services, the development of policies to make sure that things run smoothly as the organization adopts more and more technology. Both are crucial and both are doing what they are best at. This is one of the reasons why centralization drives connection and collaboration. Centralized BI empowers each team to do their job successfully.
No More Pointing Fingers
Federated BI has low security and a lot of pointing fingers. Usually, when there is a data leak, everybody blames IT. But then IT claims that they did not know certain people were working with data in their desktops. And how could they know? Working in a federated environment increases the risk of security breaches and data leaks. It’s a threat to people’s jobs. One thing is to be liable for something that you are in control of. But no one wants to be liable for things that are out of their control.
This is why centralization is so important. IT should manage the system. It allows the organization to maintain control. IT can oversee the security of data on the organization’s servers, computers, and networks. It won’t allow data leaks. Clear data permissions are defined, and information can only be seen and shared with the people that are allowed to do so.
Now IT can own their responsibility because they have the control they need. Same goes for analysts and business users. They can now analyze data without worrying about unintentional data loss or causing multiple copies of data. Centralization is the first step towards creating an environment of sharing versus an environment of pointing fingers.
Overcoming the Dilemma of Data Security and Accessibility
There is a big dilemma for IT when it comes to data security and accessibility. When using federated BI, IT is concerned of data leaks because this could potentially endanger their jobs, but at the same time, they have to provide data access to many users. The result is that business users only receive general reports, with limited insights. The analysts can’t share and distribute their knowledge. Insights stay in their private desktop.
Centralized BI solves the dilemma. IT owns the data access and security, so analysts can share knowledge freely. By freely, I mean that they can share according to the data permissions previously set by IT. People are now empowered to analyze and share findings, to work together, and to drive change.
The Power of the Many
Centralized BI empowers the many by centralizing the security. It provides a solid infrastructure for everyone to work with confidence. People can share, distribute, and drive knowledge without fear. With Centralized BI every single stakeholder enjoys the advantages.
When an organization is using centralized BI, there is a single version of the truth. Users work within this only truth and maintain data accuracy. The insights found can be shared in a safe environment and this leads to collective knowledge. When everyone in the organization can share and learn together, they are more powerful. The insights they find become more important when they are combined with other people’s findings. This makes them more relevant and actionable. In turn, people feel more motivated to achieve better results. Centralized BI provides the success, safety, and confidence that empower the many. And the power of the many drives change.