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Business intelligence or an SAP, if only it were that simple


A digital transformation must be reflected through three blocks and three pillars. (Photo: 123RF)

GUEST BLOG. Patrick Lagacé and Christian Dubé provided me with my subject this month. Through an interview given to Mr. Lagacé on June 20, Mr. Dubé told how and why he had data warehouses developed in order to better manage the health crisis, both in terms of screening and vaccination.

So far so good, but one passage made me jump and roll my eyes.

[…] to get an overview…

There are then two options, explains Christian Dubé.

“The first is to introduce a software package that will standardize practices. Like SAP. Consultants will always tell you: “Install SAP!” SAP really gets IT people excited…”


“The second option, continues the former VP of Cascades, is to create business intelligence software. We do it at home. It’s not spectacular. But it makes it possible to obtain 80% of the data in a very short time. It allows you to make decisions quickly. »

In addition to the generality of “consultants” which disappointed me, it is above all the opposition between two concepts which are intended to be complementary which forces me to write these few lines. The impression that remains after a first reading of his remarks is that it is not necessary for an organization to invest in an integrated management software package (ERP). All you have to do is invest in business intelligence (BI) software and it will solve all the problems.

However, this is false.

We are facing the same phenomenon here as for fitness. Some say that you have to train and that nutrition is secondary, while others say the opposite. In fact, for good fitness that will last over time, you need both a good diet and a training program. It is not the conjunction “or” that must be used, but “and”.

It’s the same with digital transformation. Data mining is important, but if it is not standardized, the full benefits cannot be achieved in the long term.

A digital transformation must be reflected through three blocks and three pillars. The first block is the foundation. I’m referring to your infrastructure, which should allow you to process a large amount of data and access it easily, quickly and securely.

Next comes the digitization of operations. We are talking about integrated management software here, but I also include customer relationship management systems (CRM), human resource management systems (HRIS), product lifecycle management systems (PLM) and marketing technologies. These systems will allow you to standardize and optimize both your processes and your data.

Finally, the third block is represented by innovation platforms. They will allow you to be agile and make adjustments to your business model, the experiences you offer, or your offers.

These three blocks support and consolidate three pillars of people, processes and data. Your transformation will have to evolve your culture, your organizational structure and your processes in order to have a more agile company. The objective is to be able to adapt to your environment by introducing changes that are all quite significant without being perceived as disruptive by your teams.

The “data” pillar is particularly important, as it will fuel your innovation and your ability to anticipate changes in your environment. Proper use of your data is a necessary skill to develop.

The implementation of these three blocks and the development of the pillars does not have to be done in a sequential way; parallelism is not only possible, but desirable, because it will allow you to test ideas and carry out strategic projects… like fighting a pandemic!

But for a real transformation to take place, it is necessary to have thought about all its components.

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