Business Intelligence has allowed businesses to shift from traditional practices of gut-feeling based decision-making to data-driven decision-making. Today, BI is not just a good-to-have but has become a necessity for companies to stay ahead of their competitors. Studies find that the market of Business Intelligence is expected to grow to $20 billionby the end of 2019. Business Intelligence and analytics are certainly becoming mainstream. Seeing such an invasive growth, undoubtedly, BI is set to revolutionize the way businesses operate.
Studies have found that companies leveraging the power of BI are able to make decisions 5x times faster. While all this sounds exciting, what are the key things which businesses need to consider while implementing their BI projects? Let’s take a look –
Key Elements Of a Successful Business Intelligence Strategy
Involvement of Business Users
Several companies consider BI implementations as purely IT projects. While technology has a strong role to play in successful BI projects, it is not all about technology. Companies need to embed BI at the core of their business processes and not just consider it to be an isolated IT project. The business users, who are going to make the business decisions based on slicing and dicing of the data need to be involved in the project all through its lifecycle. They are the ones who can describe the business problems which BI can solve. With several BI tools being highly intuitive, giving the power directly in the hands of the business users allows them to take real-time decisions without having to wait for IT to generate the required reports.
Identification of the right KPIs
One of the most important elements of the BI strategy is choosing the right KPIs. While there is a vast amount of data structured and unstructured data being generated, not every data point is relevant. Companies need to clearly identify the major KPIs which the company wants to monitor, measure, and improve on. The BI implementations can then focus on data required for that and can allow the business owners to trace the health of the business quickly and precisely. BI dashboards help in providing significant insights about the company and its performance against key KPIs. Through these dashboards, the stakeholders can identify, justify, and also prioritize their business decisions.
Prioritization of business problems
It is not accurate to think of BI as a magic wand which can solve all the problems of the organization. A successful BI strategy focuses on prioritization. Which are the top issues that need to be resolved? What data is needed to resolve those problems? How to acquire that? Are there KPIs to measure the success or failure of the problem resolution solution?
Instead of getting overwhelmed with a lot of priorities, it is useful to focus on 2-3 key areas and implement the BI strategy to focus on those areas. Business Intelligence works on a top-down approach. For example, the company speculates the problem of customer churn, then the company needs to first find out why are the clients leaving. Then they need to figure out this question by seeking metrics that have to be measured. This is followed by data access to formulate the required metrics. And lastly, slice those data to get to the final result.
Selection of the right tools
There is an array to BI tools available in the market. Owing to the maturity of the Business Intelligence and also Data Analytics, there has been a dramatic increase in the number of tools available for providing the desired solution. While this is good news, it is also important to note that the best tool is the market may not be the most suitable one for the company’s needs. It is important to do thorough research, evaluation, and analysis of the available tools to select the most suitable one. By blindly opting for any tool, the organizations could reduce the efficiency of the same.
Building an efficient data warehouse
Segregation of data and creation of clusters requires a data warehouse. It provides a comprehensive view of the history of the company and along with it, it helps in strategizing the decisions based on data as it induces transparency. Data warehouse lays down tools, systems, process, and governance to help organizations efficiently manage their data. Transforming significant data from their disparate sources to a designated place, not just rules out ambiguity but also gives useful and consistent data for effective business decision-making.
BI Strategy – It’s About People, Process and Technology
Successful BI implementations require companies to carefully create their strategy considering all the aspects like people, processes, and technology. Apart from selecting the best suitable tools and technologies, companies need to focus on selecting the right set of people to lead the initiative, identification of the right problem areas to be addressed, and implementation of the data-driven culture within the organization. Only through a combination of these things can BI deliver to its promise.