“Unbiased Reporting” is an Oxymoron

Most enterprises continue to rely on reporting as their source of business intelligence. In this context reporting is nothing else than sifting the records of the ordinary business activity on a more or less regular schedule. The result of reporting is a list with graphics. And/or combined in a dashboard. That’s our daily reality when it comes to understanding what we are doing in our business. What does “unbiased” mean in this context? Google defines “unbiased” as un·bi·ased ˌənˈbīəst/ adjective showing no prejudice for or against something; impartial. synonyms: impartial, unprejudiced, neutral, nonpartisan, disinterested, detached,dispassionate, objective, value-free, open-minded, equitable, even-handed, fair “we need an unbiased opinion” Taking this definition into account it becomes obvious that you require “unbiased reporting” if you want to understand what is really going on in your business. Now the crux is that “unbiased reporting” is impossible with our current business intelligence approaches. How come? Whenever you design a report you are making assumptions about your business reality. You are making assumptions about how your business is structured. You are making assumptions about how your business processes flow. You are making assumptions about critical thresholds of your business. Regarding money as well as duration. Because IT technically requires these parameters for setting up your lists and dashboards. In essence you are creating a model of your business in order to apply current business intelligence technologies. The unavoidable and thus unfortunate dilemma with this approach is that there is no way to prove that your model is indeed correctly reflecting your business reality. This might sound a bit theoretical. But we encountered such phenomena multiple times in our customer base. For example there was a...