Author: Ionut Corduneanu, ICSS
Revista de Informatii pentru Afaceri – Romanian Business Intelligence Professionals Association (ASIA)
“If a man does not know to what port he is steering, no wind is favourable” (SENECA)
In Romania, business intelligence is at the beginning. However, some important steps have already been made: the writing into the Classification of Occupations in Romania of two new occupations (business intelligence expert and business intelligence manager), the drawing up of the respective occupational standards, the accreditation of the first coursers in the field and the setting up of the Romanian Business Intelligence Professionals Association. These have been nothing else but common steps or “forms” to be taken at the beginning.
Since Romania entered its modern age, the Romanian society has been under the sign of Titu Maiorescu’s theory of “forms without substance”. Referring to the artificial modernization of Romania, Titu Maiorescu said: “under no circumstances should we draw up regulations, tables of organization and fees for the members of an association unless the desire to associate comes from its vey members; it is no use setting up academies with departments, with solemn meetings and inauguration speeches and annals unless they stem from a genuine scientific maturity which gives them reason for being”1.
That is why the next steps in order to develop business intelligence are to be well thought of. It is necessary “to fill up”the forms we have already built, but to fill them up with valuable things, with professionals. Unless we act like this we will have only “a business intelligence fad” which as any fad will be ephemeral. Fortunately, the genuine and natural development of business intelligence filed depends, mainly, on one single element: the strategic option of the business managers to use the intelligence products in view to either take a decision or substantiate their strategies. The business men are the ones to take advantage, control and grant a healthy development of the business intelligence filed.
It is a must for the pioneers of this field to prove, from the very beginning, that they are able to provide a strategic option to the beneficiaries. Unless they prove they can provide a competitive ROI (Return on Intelligence), business intelligence may become a peripheral activity with an academic patina, but severed from the pragmatic world of business, namely from its main mission.
Why business intelligence can develop in Romania?
There are three premises which support our confidence in the development of business intelligence:
- The ability of the business managers to rapidly pinpoint a pragmatic and efficient solution to their main need: to take decisions with full knowledge in uncertain circumstances. In the last twenty years, the Romanian business environment has developed significantly, and the financial-economic crisis has proved that only those who are the best performers, the best informed and the best adjusted can survive. The “romantic” age of the Romanian business environment has come to an end and now the competition for customers and resources is tough.
- The capacity of the business intelligence providers to offer legal and effective solutions to the business environment. The novelty of this activity for the Romanian business environment doesn’t mean that the pioneers of this filed have no connection with the intelligence filed at large. On the contrary. In fact, in the USA, business intelligence was “invented” by former professionals of the government intelligence agencies who migrated to the private sector bringing their experience and knowledge in the field. Their success has been great: 20-30years later, the American symbiosis between business and intelligence is indestructible; and the former government intelligence professionals have become a minority among the numerous ones who graduated from competitive intelligence programs. Some critics may contest the American experience saying that “Romania is not the USA”, but the main question we should answer is this: ”Can Romanian intelligence professionals, coming from the government or private training intelligence agencies, support business activities and decisions with customized intelligence products?” The answer is “Yes, they can”. They can because they have got a vast experience in intelligence, and even though they have never worked in business, they can easily adjust they knowledge to this field.
- The speeding of the information assimilation at the individual and social level. Technological development has dramatically speeded up the rate of change. If, during Maiorescu’s century it took a change two or three generations to occur, now it takes only two or three years. Numerous present business experiences would have seemed from a Sci-Fi novel twenty years ago (e-mail, PowerPoint presentation, smartphone). Never before in the history of mankind, has the access to knowledge been easier than it is now. In consequence, the necessary “material” to fill up the forms is here, at hand.
Having in view the above-mentioned perspectives we can also notice that there is a market (with a great potential but unaware of the business intelligence field) which needs a product (with professionals able to draw up informative reports) and a favourable external background (the technological level stimulates development and the economic crisis increases market demand), these are the right premises that can grant the development of a successful field under the auspices of market economy.
- Titu Maiorescu, În contra direcției de astăzi în cultura română, în Opere, 1978, p. 153.