Successful Business Intelligence

Cindi Howson is back with a second edition of Successful Business Intelligence.

Successful Business Intelligence by Cindi Howson book cover

Successful Business Intelligence, Second Edition by Cindi Howson (Mcgraw-Hill Osborne Media,
ISBN 978-0071809184) is a significant revision to the first edition, which was published in 2007. Cindi Howson is well known in the SAP BusinessObjects community as the author of SAP BusinessObjects 4.0: The Complete Reference as well as earlier editions for XI R2 and 6.0. But she is also a lecturer for The Data Warehousing Institute (TDWI) and publishes research on multiple business intelligence tools at

Successful Business Intelligence by Cindi Howson

The book is organized around the results of The Successful BI survey conducted in 2012. Although several of the case studies will mention specific tools, the book is intended for BI practitioners regardless of the tools that they are using. The book is written in a manner that can be understood by anyone working with business intelligence, whether business or technical, staff or management.

Books such as Successful Business Intelligence can be tricky to read because we are all tempted to underline or quote passages that reinforce our built-in biases about what “successful” BI looks like while ignoring other passages that highlight deficiencies in our approach. This isn’t a flaw of this book or its author, but of ourselves— the readers. Successful Business Intelligence provides a descriptive narrative for multiple approaches to business intelligence, rather than a single prescriptive method. No silver bullet exists because there are so many variables that make every organization’s BI implementation unique. But the successful implementations profiled in the book have found some fundamental principles that have allowed their BI implementations to achieve significant business impact. As the author suggests:

There is no clear yardstick for successful business intelligence. While the industry would like to give a single, objective measure— such as return on investment (ROI)— the reality is that ROI is derived from imprecise inputs upon which few stakeholders agree. Interestingly, the most successful business intelligence deployments don’t use ROI as a measure of success. Instead, there are multiple measures of success, with varying degrees of importance and accuracy.

While most organizations struggle with both technical challenges and organizational or “people” challenges, my personal bias is that the latter presents more obstacles to successful BI than the former. Fortunately, this book deals with both sets of challenges and provides thought-provoking material to discuss with your BI peers, hopefully over some good coffee.

At this time of year, Successful Business Intelligence makes a great stocking stuffer and a good read to curl up with over the winter holidays. It will definitely provide some new ideas to try out in 2014.

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. Some of the links in the post above are “affiliate links.” This means if you click on the link and purchase the item, I will receive an affiliate commission. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will add value to my readers.I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

Author: Dallas Marks

I am a business intelligence architect, author, and trainer. I help organizations harness the power of analytics, primarily with SAP BusinessObjects products. An active blogger, SAP Mentor and co-author of the SAP Press book SAP BusinessObjects Web Intelligence: The Comprehensive Guide, I prefer piano keyboards over computer keyboards when not blogging or tweeting about business intelligence.

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