Shared BI Responsibility Leads to Success

Ann All

Updated · Jun 03, 2011

I love a story about a successful deployment of business intelligence. (Who doesn't?) So I enjoyed reading about Station Casinos' installation of a real-time enterprise data warehouse with BI reporting that it uses for customer gaming and guest interaction data at its 18 properties.

Switching from a homegrown system to a Teradata system that consolidates all gaming, hotel and financial data has resulted in a $1 million per month reduction in marketing and promotional expenses, a $500,000 per month drop in production costs and a 14 percent uptick in guest retention. Data errors also dropped, from 80 percent to about 1 percent, according to an Information Management story about the project.

Karen O'Dell, the company's BI product director and director of business systems, comes across as a dynamic woman with lots of good ideas. She also looks more like a showgirl than a BI expert, as seen in a photo that accompanies the story. (Even geeks are gorgeous in Las Vegas, apparently.)

O'Dell enjoyed a big advantage, working with a senior VP who oversees both the marketing and IT departments. The story quotes her:

There wasn't that, you know, “I'm IT and you're marketing and I'll do it the way I want to.”

This kind of all-for-one, one-for-all attitude is often a key factor in successful BI deployments. (Unfortunately, in my experience, it's also pretty rare.)

Howard Dresner, founder and president of Dresner Advisory Services, mentioned it when I interviewed him about his recently published Wisdom of the Crowds Business Intelligence Market Study. He cited an example from the Cleveland Clinic, an organization he featured in his book “Profiles in Performance: Business Intelligence Journeys and the Roadmap for Change.”

The clinic's enterprise business intelligence initiative is jointly owned by finance, medical operations and IT, Dresner told me. He said:

So they all have to agree. The good news is, it's negotiated. Everyone understands the decision criteria, and they all have to buy in. So IT can't force anything, but the end users aren't going to go off and do something rash. 

As at Station Casinos, the involvement of a senior executive encouraged an IT/business partnership at Cleveland Clinic. At the clinic, that executive is the CEO, who Dresner describes as “a real visionary leader” with an active interest in BI. Dresner said:

… If you have the C-level management that really understand the value of this at a personal level, it's amazing how many obstacles that it clears.



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  • Ann All
    Ann All

    Public relations, digital marketing, journalism, copywriting. I have done it all so I am able to communicate any information in a professional manner. Recent work includes creating compelling digital content, and applying SEO strategies to increase website performance. I am a skilled copy editor who can manage budgets and people.

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