What to consider before implementing BI

February 04, 2013

With BI, you turn your data into knowledge and concrete information. This enables you to make better and fact-based business decisions fast, improve your company's operational processes, decrease your costs, and increase your income.

Basically, you can watch, track and analyze your company data with dynamic reports, clear analyses and dashboards. It sounds almost a bit exotic, but it is very real. However, starting a BI implementation is not so exotic. It is hard work. Here are 5 key points to consider before implementing Business Intelligence:

1. Set up the team
Find the right players for your BI team. Your team should as a minimum consist of:

  • A business user – someone who knows and understands the needs of the primary users in the organization. It could be a finance manager.
  • An administrative user – someone who knows the company’s data sources and will be able to transform information from the business users into tables and fields in the source systems.
  • A BI consultant – an expert who understands the needs of the organization, can transform the information from the other team members into a project plan and lead the actual implementation.

2. Get the full picture
Understand where you get all your data and plan what business areas you want to monitor – and if you want to monitor your data on a Windows or web platform or on a mobile device or on all three.

3. Aim high – start small
After getting the full picture, you start out small. Consider where you can get fast ROI on your new BI solution. Find the business area which most users need information about in your organization. It is often sales or financial data.

4. Validate your data
Validate your data before letting the users access the new BI solution. The users should be able to trust the information they get from the BI solution and regard that information as “the only truth” – instead of finding “their” own data in the source systems and setting up “their” own figures in various spreadsheets.

5. Get training
Without training, you will not succeed with the BI project - even with the world’s most user-friendly BI solution. Using the BI solution should be part of your company culture, especially among the primary users, and proper training will make it a habit to use the solution and your company will get the most of the investment.

Last, but not least – know your budget and talk to your IT provider.

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