BI implementations fail because they are sold to the IT departments and not to the business users. The use case and ROI needs to be built with the business users. If that is not done, it results in:
high probability of self-ware
lack of ROI for the business user
a pure IT project not driven by the needs of the business
Phi Beta Iota: For decades we have been railing against the substitution of technology for thinking; the absence of processing power and analytic desk-top tool-kits, and so on. We have also pointed out that “BI” is nothing more than data mining, that competitive intelligence ignores context, and that only commercial intelligence with a 360 view as well as historical and future forecast aspects will do. Peter Drucker said in Forbes ASAP on 28 August 1998 that we have spent the past 50 years focused on the T in IT, and need to spend the next 50 focused on the I. That is what this web site and the Earth Intelligence Network, a 501c3 seeking donors, are focused upon. The World Brain and Global Game, connecting all minds to all information in all languages all the time, is achievable. Paul Strassmann was the first to point out in a very credible documented way that the ROI for most IT investments in the Fortune 500 is negative to neutral. IT is not pulling its weight because IT has no strategy and no intellectual frame of reference, e.g. connecting dots to dots, dots to people, and people to people so as to achieve specified outcomes.
Phi Beta Iota: Paul Strassmann, former CIO Xerox, former Director of Defense Information in the 1990’s, a retiree recall to serve as CIO for NASA under Sean O’Keefe, is one of the deeper minds thinking about all this stuff. Visit him at Strassmann, Inc.
We are fascinated to see Mort Zuckerman bidding against Bloomberg the company for Business Week. He spoke to OSS ’96 to great effect, and with Paul Strassmann has been one of our most dynamic speakers “jacked in” to the real world with real world bottom-line seriousness.
We admire all parties concerned, along with TIME Magazine and Forbes, and we dare to hope that whoever wins, they might try Systems Design & “Reverse Innovation,” two elements of this week’s Business Week as issued in Europe.
Knowledge Capital and Calculating Shareholder Value,
May 29, 2000
This is the definitive book on “knowledge capital” (his trademarked term) and how to calculate shareholder value in the New Economy. In general, one should buy this book to be persuaded of Paul’s brilliance, and then hire him to implement the ideas as a strategic consultant. Not for the weak-minded CEO or CIO, as it impales most corporate oxes and concludes that in general, there has been either a negative return on investment, or no discernible contribution to corporate profit, from steadily increasing information technology budgets.
Report Card for CIOs: D- InfoTech is NOT Profit-Maker,
April 8, 2000
Paul A. Strassmann
Paul documents the fact that “a very large share of U.S. industrial firms are not productive in terms that apply to the information age.” He evaluates and ranks 1,586 firms, and the results are both surprising and valuable.
Paul, former Chief Information Officer for Xerox and later Director of Defense Information, used this book to address the basic issues of employee productivity in relation to information technology. This is one of a very few books, including those by Carkhuff, Cleveland, Kelly, and Toffler, that I regard as fundamental-required reading for anyone with any authority over anything.
Many of the cartoons published in the Irreverent Dictionary came from this book, and I was among those who suggested to Paul that he should publish the cartoons separately. They were, however, essential to this otherwise intimidating book that is nothing less than an operating manual for the Captain of the Virtual Network. The bottom line that I took from this book is that Kevin Kelly is right, our national and international information systems are “out of control” and our policy leaders have abdicated their responsibilities to technicians who do not have the political, economic, or common sense of two ducks and a chicken. As Paul alludes in one of his footnotes, the Network today is somewhat in relationship to the “horseless carriage” stage of the automobile, and we have a very long way to go before policy helps make computers as user-friendly and reliable and interoperable as the telephone and the automobile are today.
Whenever we get depressed about the inability of large organizations to “hear” we just remind ourselves that no one listens to Brent Scowcroft or Paul Strassmann either despite their stature as intellectual giants.
Strassmann is an enterprise unto himself after decades of being a CIO for Xerox, DoD, and then a reprise at NASA for Sean O’Keefe. His books are among the most vital for executives seeking to actually understand the business value of computing. Below is his presentation to OSS ’96.