Since its inception decades ago, the primary objective of business intelligence has been the creation of a top-down single source of truth from which organizations would centrally track KPIs and performance metrics with static reports and dashboards. This stemmed from the proliferation of data in spreadsheets and reporting silos throughout organizations, often yielding different and conflicting results. With this new mandate, BI-focused teams were formed, often in IT departments, and they began to approach the problem in the same manner as traditional IT projects, where the business makes a request of IT, IT logs a ticket, then fulfills the request following a waterfall methodology.
While this supplier/consumer approach to BI appeared to be well-suited for the task of centralizing an organization’s data and promoting consistency, it sacrificed business agility. There was a significant lag between the time the question was asked, and the time the question was answered. This delay and lack of agility within the analysis process led to lackluster adoption and low overall business impact.