Successfully Implement BI into Your Business
You might be asking, “Why should I implement a BI system?”
The simplest answer is… because your competition is doing it.
According to Gartner, BI continues to be a primary spending priority in technology. Why? Because BI projects:
Leverage existing information investments
Are relatively low cost and low risk
Deliver proven high return on investment (ROI)
In a direct quote about Business Intelligence, Gartner observes, “BI can have a direct positive impact on a company’s business performance, dramatically improving its ability to accomplish its mission by making smarter decisions at every level of the business from corporate strategy to operational processes.”
If you are considering implementing a Business Intelligence system, be sure to research the many different offerings. Picking the right BI platform for your company will make or break the success of the project. When reviewing the different offerings, consider these questions and how they apply to the system your evaluating:
What performance metrics have the highest impact on your business strategy and objectives?
Which people and processes have the highest impact on achieving your business objectives?
What applications and BI technologies do these people need to deliver the highest impact on your business objectives?
What information has the highest impact on your business objectives?
Successful implementation of Business Intelligence into any organization, no matter which system you adopt or the project size, relies on a number of things.
TechAdvisory.org lists 4 critical areas that need to be defined and understood within the organization before you start your BI implementation. The first of these is the data source. Identifying where the relevant data is in the system enables the successful data mining that is at the heart of BI. Technology is also a critical factor due to most BI programs requiring a stable and consistent environment to sift and sort the data involved. Having a designated individual or team is crucial. Without someone who understands the purpose and goals of the BI system, data is not properly reported on and (worse) faulty information can be drawn out of the system. This can lead to poor business choices and failure of not only the BI… but also of the business. Finally, communication between management and the employees on the goal of the BI is absolutely necessary. Without the employees understanding why the data the BI uses is important, many employees will simply not adopt the BI system and data will be incomplete or misleading.
These four areas … successfully identified and enacted… will enable the successful implementation of a Business Intelligence platform. For example, communication will allow you to align your business units with the goals of the system and encourage adoption. It will also allow you to gain feedback from the end users and find out what is working and what is not. An overly complex system will drive your employees to figure out a work around and avoid the system. Communication will allow you to change requirements, drop un-needed sections, or adopt automation in the system to help reduce redundancy.
Another factor that always precedes success in implementing a BI is to not rush the process. Adopting the entire system in one day puts an incredible amount of strain on the business and employees. Instead, adopt one section of BI at time and slowly build the entire system allowing everyone to absorb changes slowly. This will also give you the opportunity to modify your system as problems or new goals are realized during the initial phases of the implementation. Flexibility is critical to any organization, and that is true in BI as well.
Finally… don’t be afraid to ask for help. The complexities of the BI platforms on today’s market can intimidate even the experts. Get a full evaluation of your environment, business goals, and technical systems to make sure you are getting the right platform to create a successful BI environment.