A second note to people who subscribe to this site via e-mail


The latest e-mail containing content from the site (specifically The scope of IT’s responsibility when businesses go bad and “Why do CFOs and CEOs hate IT? – ERP” – Thomas Wailgum at CIO.com) has none of the images loading.

I’m not sure what the reason for this is at present, but I will attempt to sort it out in FeedBurner for tomorrow’s mail shot. In the meantime, please accept my apologies for this new glitch with the e-mail service.


New Industry Commentary section

Over the past few months, I have found myself increasingly commenting on topics within the business intelligence space and also technology industry issues in general. Given this, I thought that maybe it was time to better delineate these posts.

I now have a category for Industry Commentary that appears in the sidebar to the right of the blog, currently this looks something like the following image:


As you can see, this category is itself split out by vendor, with the list currently consisting of IBM, Microsoft, Oracle, SAS and Sun. Over time, as I write further pieces, this list will expand.

You can also access this type of information from the Industry Commentary section of my Keynote Articles page.

A note to people who subscribe to this site via e-mail


The latest e-mail containing content from the site (specifically My “all-time” most-read 5 articles) seems to have got rather mangled, with the text bunched up to one side.

It looks like a problem with the use of <table>, but I’m not quite sure what the precise issue is as the HTML appears to be well-formed. Hopefully this problem will not recur and, in the meantime, please accept my apologies for the glitch.


PS it is a bit odd as the article appears fine when syndicated on SmartDataCollective.com here.

My “all-time” most-read 5 articles

WordPress.com provides a handy widget that shows the articles (and pages) on this blog that have had the most hits over the last 24-48 hours. This appears as the second box from the top of my sidebar, just beneath the RSS subscription options. However this time-period is a little too short to assess the true popularity of articles. In order to remedy this, I have used WordPress.com’s own tracking stats to produce the following list, which covers the brief life of this site since November 2008.

There is clear water between the top five and the chasing pack. The next most popular article, The Top Business Issues facing CIOs / IT Directors – Results, is 176 hits back on 694. Of course one might assume that an “all-time” list would favour the earliest posts on this site. It is therefore interesting to note that the list instead features a number of more recent pieces and that the only really “old” piece is my first article plagiarising John Gray’s famous book.

I should also note that I have removed Keynote Articles (1,073 hits) from the list as this page aggregates all of my other posts, rather than being an article in its own right.

Of course this is merely a snap-shot of today’s figures and the list is already out of date as I write. I may look to update the figures occasionally, perhaps every three to six months.

1. Measuring the benefits of Business Intelligence 1,161
2. Business is from Mars and IT is from Venus 1,154
3. Trends in Business Intelligence 1,039
4. A review of “The History of Business Intelligence” by Nic Smith 894
5. Business Analytics vs Business Intelligence 880


Pigeonholing – A tragedy



Way back when I wrote Vision vs Pragmatism I mentioned that:

There is nothing that homo sapiens likes more than to pigeonhole his or her fellows. We tend to take a binary approach to people’s skills. Fred is a visionary, but you wouldn’t want him to run a project. Jane is brilliant at the details, but she doesn’t see the big picture. Perhaps we are more comfortable with the idea that the strength of any colleague is automatically balanced by a weakness; it brings them back down to a reasonable level.

This topic came up again in a follow-on discussion I had with a CIO who had attended the Chase Zander IT Director Forum last week. During this chat, we spoke about the benefit of having a broad set of skills, but recognised that it was not always easy to find roles that allowed a significant number of these to be used.

My thoughts went back to a conversation I had had with a prospective employer a few weeks earlier. In pondering this, as sometimes happens with me, it became somewhat expanded, embellished and took on the form of a scene in a play.
Act II. Scene 1. An office in a major capital.

Prospective employer: So you are a business intelligence person?
The hero: That’s right.
Prospective employer: But you are also involved in change management?
The hero: Yes, I have worked a lot on cultural transformation.
Prospective employer: And it says here that you have also developed and implemented financial and other systems.
The hero: Yes I have done all of that as well.
Prospective employer: And that you were one of the people who ran a start-up organisation.
The hero: Yes I did that, it was a really interesting part of my career.
Prospective employer: Also you have both run multiple IT departments, managing a significant number of staff, and have acted as a one-man-band in internal consulting positions?
The hero: Those are both true assertions, yes.
Prospective employer: And here there is some experience working in Operations, oh and Finance as well. You seem to have got around.
The hero: Well, I have done a lot of different things over the years and managed to be successful in many of them.
Prospective employer: Your CV also mentions strategy development, monitoring budgets, being a trainer and mentoring developing managers..
The hero: Those are all things that I have done it’s true.
Prospective employer: Well this is all very interesting, but I’m not really sure whether you are a business person, an IT expert, or just a Jack-of-all-trades and master of none.
The hero: Well I suppose I have worked more in an IT context than most other things, but those the achievements that I have been most proud of have crossed multiple areas.
Prospective employer: IT eh? OK I understand that, if you could rewrite your CV along those lines then I’ll have a think about what opportunities we may have in that department..
The hero: Um… OK… I’ll do that. Thank you for your time.
Exit Prospective employer, stage left.
The hero takes centre stage for his big soliloquy.
The hero: IT, or not IT? That is the question…

I had always thought that being pigeonholed was a negative thing to happen to someone. I now know better, it is apparently the key to getting a new job!

Readers are cordially invited to check the date of this blog posting.

Busy week

I will be facilitating the Chase Zander IT Director Forum in Birmingham on Thursday evening and am also attending a CIO Magazine event earlier in the week, so there will be rather less blog output than is customary.

Keynote Articles

Keynote Articles

A new section has today appeared at on the menu of this site, Keynote Articles. Rather than try to describe this in a novel way, I will simply quote part of the introduction that appears on the page.

There are many strengths of the blog format, however one weakness is its focus on the recent at the expense of the relevant. This section of the site seeks to remedy this problem by providing a grouped list of what I am going to call Keynote Articles.

There are a lot of different articles on this blog. Some are to do with new functionality that is available; some are brief notes about what I have been up to, or am planning to do; some link to news elsewhere on the Internet, most often with some commentary from me. Keynote Articles are what is left. That is original pieces written by me based on my own experience and expertise. These types of articles form the meat of this site.

I have tried to group these Keynote Articles into general areas, with some pieces appearing in more than one place. Inside each area, the entries appear in chronological order, i.e. the reverse of the main blog page.

This categorised list of major articles should provide another way of finding relevant content, supplementing the various tools and links that already appear in the right-hand sidebar.

Back safe and sound

The horseshoe of Cwm Idwal with a dusting of March snow
The horseshoe of Cwm Idwal with a dusting of March snow

Further to my last post, I am back safe and well (if rather wet) from my climbing trip to snowy North Wales. Thank you to those who either wished me well or expressed concern for my safety. Refreshed by some physical activity, I’ll now return to more cerebral matters.

For anyone interested, a mini-report on our trip appears on my partner’s blog here.

There now follows a brief intermission…

I will be off in North Wales for the rest of the week. The plan is to do some rock climbing, specifically bouldering. However the forecast is not exactly positive, so I may spend rather more time looking at the rain.

Normal service will be resumed next week.

Adding my headlines to your site

Peter Thomas - BI Blog

↑ Grab this Headline Animator

Care of Feedburner I have just created a page where you can grab the animated widget above and easily add it to your site or blog. The widget cycles through the headlines of my five most recent articles. A link to this also appears in the RSS box at the top of the right hand side bar.