Monthly Archives: February 2014

Business Analytics: Curiosity, Creativity and Action

As data acquires its own value in organizations and as business analytics emerges as a field in its own right – the more paramount becomes ensuring successful implementation of the practice of analytics. After following a number of implementations it is clear to me that success is not ensured only by focusing on the data and technology. It comes from something else.


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Top BI Trends in 2014

At the end of each year a number of ”Top trends in Business Intelligence for the next year” reports are published. The end of 2013 was no exception. Many of these reports come from vendors who often (strangely enough) report that the technological focus of their solutions will become the next year’s trend. Others come from various analysts based on surveys, BI conferences or just gut feelings.

Below we have surveyed some of these reports for 2014 *) and combined them with our own results from our forthcoming 2014 Business Intelligence in the Nordics vendor survey.

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Measuring academic performance: The inadequacies of the publication count KPI

Participating in yet another evaluation committee for an academic position got me thinking yet again: Why do we measure academic performance in the same way across all academic disciplines? Currently there is one performance measure that defines academic success: Number of academic publication in scientific journals. This seems to go for the natural sciences, engineering and all branches of the social sciences. Teaching competencies are of course also being measured and are – sometimes – given importance. But publication count seems to be the main KPI when measuring academic performance. However, looking at my own field of management sciences and management accounting, it strikes me how inadequate that performance measure really is. We are training students to become better managers and thus in the end improving the management of the companies that the market economy is based on. To do so researchers need to know what is going on in these companies. But in my field this knowledge is found only to a limited extent in scientific journals and academic textbooks. It is the knowledge of the actual application of the tools, techniques, rules and methods that becomes crucial in improving student understanding. So we need to refocus the performance measurement of academics in the disciplines that are rooted in and based on application and practice. Instead of measuring academic performance solely in terms of writing about practice we also need to include measures on how the academic engage with practice. I think that we should include consultancy – along with teaching and publications – as a performance measure for academics.  Consultancy is sometimes used as a derogatory word in academia. But in academic disciplines that are rooted in the application and practice of man-made tools, processes and methods, we as academics need to engage with the practice we are researching. And not just interviewing for case studies or giving speeches at corporate functions but actively engaging in consultancy projects where we have to apply, develop, test and refine the tools and methods we teach. What you measure is what you get. If academics performance measures in some of the applied disciplines focused more on measuring academic understanding of and participation in the practice they are teaching and researching then we would get better academics, better students and ultimately better companies.