AoF 60: Why is the ‘Business’ still missing in BI? w/ Cliff Alper

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Why is the business missing in BI? And how can you get the business back into BI? That’s what today’s guest is here to talk about. Cliff Alper is Director of Product Development at Analysis Factory, and my first mentor in the business intelligence space. The grooming I received while working under him and his partner Rick Montgomery, proved invaluable to my career.  In today’s episode, Cliff teaches us how to tell if you’re missing the business part of BI, why it’s so important to ask a lot of questions, and how to talk to end-users. Grab a notepad and tune in!

“I think a lot of it is that you have to think of yourself as a business consultant and not an order taker.” [23:21]


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3 Knowledge Bombs

  • Cliff on the ongoing high BI Failure rate - Very often the business is going to view the BI people as just computer guys
  • Cliff on Requirement Gathering - Make sure part of your BI process is gathering 100% business requirements.
  • Cliff on Data Storytelling - When you build your story, your story is taking them through the business processes that they do every day anyway. It’s not just a random story.

In this episode, you'll learn:

  • [01:44]  - Transformational Stories and Lessons Learned: Why is the business still missing in BI
  • [16:30]  - Cliff’s background
  • [18:31]  - Key Quote: A BI consultant is exactly that, a business consultant. And I think people forget that a little bit –Cliff Alper
  • [18:40]  - What Cliff means when he says that the business is missing from BI
  • [21:42]  - How to know if you’re someone who’s forgetting the business in BI
  • [22:41]  - Key Quote: As consultants, we were basically order takers. –Cliff Alper
  • [30:25]  - Advice for BI analytics leaders who struggle with confidence and knowledge
  • [31:35]  - Whether BI teams should remove themselves from IT
  • [35:16]  - How COVID has affected the ability to talk to users
  • [39:50]  - Key Quote: One of the things I learned from you guys was about paying attention to the unsaid things in the room. –Mico Yuk
  • [45:49]  - Key Quote: My approach is completely unstructured. I like to just go in and say tell me about your business –Cliff Alper
  • [45:49]  - Key Quote: My approach is completely unstructured. I like to just go in and say tell me about your business – Cliff Alper
  • [51:07]  - Teaching about stories
  • [57:54]  - Seeing yourself as a business consultant and a leader
  • [59:19]  - What advice Cliff would give his younger self
  • [01:01:05]  - Who inspires Cliff
  • [01:06:19]  - How listeners can find Cliff
  • [01:07:01]  - What Cliff is on fire about right now
  • Right-click here and save-as to download this episode to your computer.

“Maybe a lot of the BI consultants see themselves a little bit more as computer guys instead of consultants.” [30:41]

Links and Resources mentioned in this episode:

  • Connect directly to Cliff Alper via LinkedIn

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Mico Yuk

Mico Yuk

As the Co-founder and CEO of BI Brainz, I've been in the Business Intelligence/Analytics industry since 2009. Trained 10K+ using our methodologies and frameworks! I love our amazing team and community! I share my passion for data to 20,000+ followers via the Analytics on Fire Podcast, our BI Brainz academy, blog, social media, global keynotes, training, and workshops. Our model is simple. We take what is successful for our customers and teach it! I'm a bonafide beach bum on days off!
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