We worry about tools too much.
Don’t get me wrong – tools are great. It’s hard to do much without them. But when it comes to building business intelligence solutions, focusing on tools rather than the business you’re building the solution for is a key reason why these solutions often end up being failures. The solutions don’t meet their users’ needs and are thus simply not used.
SO YOU WANT TO BUILD A HOUSE
Let’s say you’ve agreed to build someone a house. And let’s also say, since you have a tendency to say ‘yes’ to everything, that you’ve agreed to do this without having ever built a house before. Most people understand that heading down to The Home Depot, maxing out the VISA and coming home with a van full of new tools isn’t enough to get you ready to build a house – you obviously have to understand how to use the tools, how houses are designed, and how they get built. So, let’s now assume you’ve worked hard, studied and practiced, and you’re now a master architect, draftsman, plumber, electrician, carpenter, etc. You now know how to use the tools, how to design and you’re now building houses that have power, lights and are still standing after a year.
TOOLS AND TECHNIQUE
But this mastery of tools and technique go for nothing if you don’t fully understand who you’re building the house for and what their needs are. How can you be sure that the house you build will meet your client’s needs if you don’t explore what they’re looking for? These needs will affect a huge range of your design and build decisions and making assumptions about them can easily throw you off track. Is the client building a house for their family or just themselves? Will kids live in it? Does anyone have mobility issues? Does the house need to support a home business or a specific hobby? Is a two-car garage big enough? Do they even need a garage? You won’t be a successful home builder if you meet your client at the beginning, assume you got enough from them, and begin designing and building the house without further input from them.
THE IMPORTANT PART
Most people wouldn’t approach building a house this way, but unfortunately, when it comes to building business intelligence solutions, this often is the approach. IT settles on a toolset, assembles a talented development team, and, after some initial requirements gathering, starts building. The client will see the results once testing starts.