Should BI belong on the IT side or the business side?

A recent simple question in a BI discussion group on Linkedin posed the question that always lingers regarding the nature of ownership of successful BI projects.

Should BI reside on the IT side or the business side?

This conversation could typically be broken into two camps, those that enjoy doing the BI plumbing, and those that don’t – but the solution to this question is not just a straight shoot-out between these two groups, it is a much more complex and interesting mix of issues and people.

Business loves BI and often IT hates it because business are so dependent on them to get it. The smaller the business the tougher it gets because often the level of IT skills doesn’t exist and so it becomes much more important to be able to blend IT skills with business skills to create the right BI mix.

As with any other project, without executive sponsorship and leadership within an organization,  BI will fail – no doubt, but provided this fundamental is in place, an alignment between business needs and IT is a critical starting point to scoping a successful solution.

I liked the way a guy called Mike Evertzen summed it up by saying “The Business is the ‘What’ and the IT is the ‘How’“. Embedding the ‘what’ with the ‘how’ is the best way to ensure the right result and so I am in favour of bringing the two together.” BI is a business driver, presenting the opportunity to make informed decision to optimize organizational performance, and I would agree that the delivery of BI is best achieved in cross functional IT and business teams.