Three steps to set up your company for BI success

Originally published January 23, 2020. Updated March 20, 2024

Data-driven optimization isn’t something that happens overnight. Rather, it’s a cultural shift that must permeate its way throughout the entire organization, sometimes slowly and others in leaps and bounds. At TARGIT, we call it the BI journey.

Each company’s journey progresses in accordance with the amount and complexity of data, and the power of tools used to analyze it. Typically, in any modern BI project, there are three stages that take companies from basic BI to data-driven powerhouses.

Cultural shift


But even before a company can consider incorporating BI into their daily business life, there is a significant amount of groundwork that should be laid to prepare the company for the cultural shift of a data-driven environment, and ensure success in some of the lesser known, yet significantly detrimental challenges to BI success.

You don’t just put a powerful BI tool in the hands of employees and expect them make it work in the same way you don’t just walk out your front door and run a marathon without proper training and preparation. The first step is strategically planning for a successful, long-term project. Furthermore, you can’t buy your way up the BI maturity model. Expensive tools and platforms do not equal data-driven success.

At TARGIT, we empower companies to set data free to all decision makers throughout the organization, fostering a bimodal BI environment. This enables companies to execute a modern BI strategy that still satisfies the secure, structured, centralized IT data warehouse roll-out while giving the freedom of data exploration and discovery to everyday business users.

This is not the traditional, centralized Top Down approach to BI. In fact, we encourage data exploration as a key element to your BI strategy, as long as you are able to bridge the gap between traditional BI and the modern BI landscape. To help you “embrace the and” we therefore suggest taking these three steps to prepare your company before implementing BI and Analytics technology.


Step one: Map the metrics that matter


Before implementing any type of BI project, you need to know what you’ll be monitoring. This is easy to nail down in theory, but we see many companies struggle in identifying precisely which KPIs should be measured to give a comprehensive view of goals.

Many companies attempt to monitor so many lagging and leading indicators that they muddy the waters at best and drown in information overload at worst. 


Step two: Consider the users


Once you figure out what needs to be analyzed, the next step is determining who will be consuming those analyses. Employees use of BI and analytics varies widely throughout every organization. BI is not one-size-fits-all. Some users need advanced analytical functionality, while others only need to browse through a few high-level dashboards.

If you aren’t delivering dashboards and analyses in a way that makes sense for each user, it’s likely they won’t be used. 


Step three: Strategize, operationalize, and harvest


With the metrics and users mapped out, it’s time to line up the full decision-making strategy. Every decision made in a company should go through a cycle that flows through observation, orientation, decision, and action. We call this circle the Action Loop, but it’s also known as the OODA Loop in military strategy.

Every decision maker in the company should understand what information is needed for each stage of the Action Loop that relates to his or her responsibilities. This ensures the reports and analyses generated through the BI platform are designed to answer the most important business questions.

An organization that cycles every decision through the strategic Action Loop ensures increased organizational learning and continuous process improvement. A company will have dozens, if not hundreds, of loops spinning at any given time.

With these three critical steps in place, companies are ready to take on the technical implementation of BI. These steps don’t diminish in importance once the system gets humming though. They should continuously be reviewed and, if needed, revised. This is the groundwork for a data-driven powerhouse.

Ready to become a data-driven organization?

Originally published February 24, 2016. Updated March 20, 2024