Can BI Thrive in Developing Countries?
To understand BI is to understand the industry that it grew out of IT. IT is often championed as having impacts on organizations with little regard to social and cultural contexts. Unfortunately, this couldn’t be farther from the truth. Socio-economic issues, socio-political contexts, and affordability often require different implementation strategies in developing countries. So what is the largest disconnect that this all creates? A simple failure to properly communicate the differences between ‘where we are now’ and ‘where the information system wants to get us’. The onus is on us, the BI practitioners, to minimize the gap between ideal designs of BI competency centers and the ‘current realities’ that exist.
So what is the best way to ensure a successful BI implementation in a developing country? Well the same rules apply as with any business – through an often relentless requirements gathering. Interviewing persons within an organization, and visiting places of business, allow BI practitioners to not only gain a fuller understanding of the technology landscape, but a more pervasive understanding of the cultural norms and eccentricities. Successful BI is not simply connecting systems together for the ‘one view of the truth’, BI in developing countries requires crafting a message that connects with the individuals – it hits home and stirs curiosity.
Whether BI is viewed as a process or set of tools, the core of BI is still to support the decision making and help the company’s strategy through information gathering and analysis. Situated in developing countries or not, companies will always have a need for BI. It will be more critical to reduce quantity into quality and determine the critical factors for success in developing nations since companies will be less immune to setbacks and ‘unintelligent’ BI systems. In developing countries, implementation of business intelligence systems can easily project a company onto a more global scene.