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Volume 5 | Issue 7 | July 2011

Daniel Vitek, MBA, PMP

Business intelligence (BI) is a management term used to describe the knowledge derived from collecting and analyzing an organization's information. In general, BI also encompasses the concepts, standards, and methods for gathering, storing, analyzing, presenting, and distributing such information. This is often performed using databases and application technologies necessary to query, perform statistical analysis, report analytics, forecast, data mine, and optimize BI data that is captured and maintained in a centralized data store.

From a business perspective, BI holds tremendous promise to produce substantial, sustainable, competitive advantages. BI as a core competency is integral to the day-to-day operation of many of the most successful organizations. However, nothing worth having comes easy. Specific requirements of business users often result in systems uniquely tailored to the organization for which they are developed. As a result, implementation of BI is often accompanied by technical and political challenges. Such challenges must first be overcome before real benefit from BI can be realized. Some such challenges include:

  • Visible, committed, sponsorship and support from senior management and recognized business leaders
  • Standardized Project management practices, standards, and methods
  • Reliable access to data sources
  • Consistent high-quality data
  • Acceptance and use of BI by the organization’s culture

To minimize the impact of such challenges organizational leadership must be visible in their support of BI as a core competency. They must champion the acceptance and use of BI in such a manner that promotes the sharing and collaborative use of information across the enterprise for the purposes of improving the organization as a whole.

Managers must ensure that information and data feeding BI systems is consistent, relevant, and clean so that it can be relied upon for efficient analysis and effective decision making based on BI outputs.

Regardless of the challenges, organizations that overcome such hurdles and begin leveraging BI effectively and consistently often realize substantial benefits very quickly. Such benefits first become evident as BI begins to facilitate decision making in areas such as portfolio management, project selection, and resource allocation. Improved transparency into business operations and organizational resource expenditures often results in more efficient decision making, reduction in organizational inefficiencies, costs, identification of inefficient processes, increased productivity, improved quality, and expanded business opportunities.

BI allows business decisions to be supported with hard-data. Strategic decisions that in the past may have been made based on assumptions or qualitative analysis can instead be based on hard facts, numbers, relative historical data, and statistical analysis. Decision Support Systems (DSS) are used to enable such decision-making and support other related activities. Such systems are often technology based and enable the efficient distribution of fact-based information in a manner that facilitates and supports the information and decision-making needs of various stakeholder audiences’ in a manner that allows for improved business functions.

Within the Office of Surveillance, Epidemiology, and Laboratory Services (OSELS) the Project Execution Office (PEO) has begun to implement an OSELS BI/DSS for the portfolio of initiatives under its oversight.

The OSELS PEO is recognized as a progressive proponents and innovative user of the recently implemented SharePoint 2007. This reputation is earned through its innovative use of SharePoint to integrate CDC policy and standards to more effectively facilitate the management of OSELS initiatives.

PEO began this effort by involving stakeholders in the development of an OSELS-wide SharePoint site template to standardize the management and reporting of OSELS initiatives. This site template tightly integrates HHS/CDC policies and standards including the HHS Enterprise Performance Life Cycle.

To date over ~30 OSELS initiatives use this template from which data is aggregated and reported to leadership and stakeholders across OSELS utilizing a centralized Reporting Center.

For more information and tools related to the topic(s) covered in this newsletter, the CDC Unified Process, or the Project Management Community of Practice please visit the CDC Unified Process website at

Please also visit the CDC Unified Process Newsletter Archive located at for access to many additional newsletters, articles, and management related topics and information.


The CDC UP offers a short overview presentation to any CDC FTE or Non-FTE group. Presentations are often performed at your location, on a day of the week convenient for your group, and typically take place over lunch structured as one hour lunch-and-learn style meeting.

Contact the CDC Unified Process at or visit to arrange a short overview presentation for your group.


The CDC Unified Process Project Management Newsletter is authored by Daniel Vitek, MBA, PMP and published by the Office of Surveillance, Epidemiology, and Laboratory Services.

For questions about the CDC Unified Process, comments regarding this newsletter, suggestions for future newsletter topics, or to subscribe to the CDC Unified Process Project Management Newsletter please contact the CDC Unified Process or visit



  • January 28, 2011
    Topic: Impact of CIMS/CITS on Projects
  • February 25, 2011
    Topic: CPIC for Project Managers
  • March 25, 2011
    Topic: Managing Change
  • April 29, 2011
    Topic: Developing Meaningful and Measurable Metrics
  • May 27, 2011
    Topic: SharePoint for Success
  • June 24, 2011
    Topic: A Conversation with CDC's COO
  • July 29, 2011
    Topic: Understanding Section 508
  • August 26, 2011
    Topic: Leadership
  • September 30, 2011
    Topic: Dig Deeper into Microsoft Project
  • October 28, 2011
    Topic: Information Security 101 for Project Managers
  • December 02, 2011
    Topic: Enterprise Architecture


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