In essence, Business Intelligence is like perpetual motion – it never ends. It is this spiraling causality that makes Business Intelligence activities different. Projects have a defined goal and an end. Business Intelligence also differs from operational activities. Operations may never end, but they also have a specific goal (if not, then there is something to cut).
Business Intelligence activities can be directed but in the course of an investigation, the expected result may not come about. One is exploring rather than producing. As soon as something is learned, expected or not, it generates new questions and the search for new answers.
One of the main challenges for leaders is how to direct and control Business Intelligence. Forcing Business Intelligence into operations or project management techniques will diminish its effectiveness. At the same time, the perpetual tendencies of Business Intelligence cannot be left to go on forever. Leaders that can maintain a balance between control and open research will get their most from their Business Intelligence investments.