Business intelligence — Open book revolution

According to the current issue of Business Week, “… business intelligence is evolving from traditional business intelligence to pervasive business intelligence, which empowers everyone in the organization, at all levels, with shared and aligned analytics, key success indicators, alerts, and feedback mechanisms. …

"Pervasive business intelligence promises to: 
•    Transform every employee into an "organization-of-one" who is able to make the right decisions at the right time in order to increase sustainable competitive advantage
•    More effectively leverage the strengths of the whole organization by giving every employee the power to contribute to and enhance the shared and aligned key success indicators that have been set by management
•    Discover and drive new best practices and process optimizations from the bottom up, as well as the top down …

"Pervasive business intelligence is business intelligence for the rest of the organization. It’s the ability to take relevant information that is usually reported up to management and push it down to users. With pervasive business intelligence, metrics and processes are subject to continuous evaluation by user and participants at multiple levels and stages. From the CEO to the newest team member, everyone can work smarter when business intelligence is pervasive.”

This sounds a lot like the "open book" policies, sometimes called the "open book revolution" of a few years ago …. In this environment, everyone was given the financial information of the company/firm.  There were no secrets, no "close to the vest" management.  The theory is that folks generally know what is happening, know generally the performance results of the firm even if management doesn’t share the exact information with them.

The problem is that staff is often wrong … They think the firm is doing better than it is … Rarely are they wrong in thinking the firm is doing worse than it is.  By providing accurate information, staff feels empowered, doesn’t ask for things that financially doesn’t make sense and often work harder for the success of the firm …

Reminds me of the FDR saying, "The only thing you have to fear is fear itself."  With accurate information in front of them, staff doesn’t have to guess what is happening; they don’t have to walk around "in the dark," working under a cloud of mis-placed concern; and they can provide greater assistance in those areas they see needs an additional effort.

Whether "pervasive business intelligence" or "open book revolution," involving the whole of the organization in the process of running and growing a law firm usually provides for a better workplace with even better financial results.


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