Blue-chip CIO argues that business intelligence must be kept simple

By Stuart Sumner
04 May 2011 View Comments
Business intelligence

Clifford Burroughs, CIO of fast-moving consumer goods company United Biscuits, has argued that purchasing swathes of business intelligence tools and plug-ins "simply isn't necessary".

This will irritate major BI vendors such as Oracle, IBM and SAP who regularly release new software aimed at displaying data in different ways, as well as niche vendors such as Qliktech who release software even more regularly.

Further reading

Burroughs explained to Computing that he refuses to buy new tools unless they are absolutely necessary.

"I said to my team I just wasn't going to buy more software just for the sake of it. We have to use lean thinking and only deliver the information that people need."

He added that unused tools are discarded. "We've got a very simple rule, if a report is not being read daily by at least one person, we turn it off."

Although the BI portfolio Burroughs manages has grown over recent years, it hasn't become fragmented or complicated, which is often the case at other companies.

"We use the standard FMCG SAP functions. I implemented them before I was the CIO, and now I have to live with them. We started with 10 per cent of what we have now, and we've successively added to it.

"But we haven't made it any more complicated, which is important. We've kept the reporting very simple and focused on the core metrics, and not added to them to the point where you've got so much information that you struggle to make sense of it."

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