How to build a successful Business Intelligence strategy?
The value of Business Intelligence (BI) to modern business cannot be overstated, but there’s a lot more to it than simply investing in the right software. Getting together a comprehensive Business Intelligence strategy will empower your organsiation through relevant implementation and effective use.
What is Business Intelligence?
Business Intelligence refers to the sub-categories of software that generate reports and perform analyses on company-owned data. The term incorporates aspects such as:
- Business analytics
- Big data analytics
- Embedded analytics
- Enterprise reporting
- Web analytics
- Social media intelligence
BI allows organisations to turn raw data, from various sources, into really invaluable insights. BI provides essential information related to market trends and customer behaviour that empowers organisations to alter their strategic vision and make data-driven business decisions. Through BI, you’re able to collect, organise and visualise data into user-friendly charts and graphs for easy interpretation.
What is a Business Intelligence strategy?
Your Business Intelligence strategy is effectively a roadmap that allows your business to actively utilise the BI by measuring performance and identifying competitive advantages. The collated data will be developed into a cohesive system so that those incredible visuals can be effectively put to work for you.
What tools are needed for a BI strategy?
To get your Business Intelligence strategy in place, there are certain steps you can follow that will drastically enhance your business operations. Here’s a look at how to get going with a strategy.
1. Get your BI team together
To put an effective BI strategy together, you need to get everyone on the same page while putting together a truly impactful BI team drawn from all the relevant departments. The misconception is often that BI is solely an IT undertaking, but this isn’t true. BI also draws on data from finances, sales and HR, so it’s important that you get all the necessary stakeholders on board to implement your BI strategy. If you can utilise existing staff, that is a bonus, but you might be required to look externally if the skills’ set isn’t there. They’ll need to understand how the data is used, what works and what doesn’t. To give you an idea, here are some of the individuals required for your BI strategy team:
- IT or analytics director managing the software platform;
- Site administrator to organise content and user groups;
- Architect for platform integration;
- Data steward who contextualises the data and documents processes;
- Steering committee; and
- Executive sponsor.
2. Choose your BI platform
Once you’ve established your BI team, you’ll need to decide on a BI software platform that will tie into your particular strategy. The BI features that are quite common across the BI software options include:
- Data access and overview of content;
- Data analysis and insight;
- Data interactivity and interface;
- Promotion of new data trends and insights; and
- Data collaboration and visualisation of analytics.
3. Determine the scope of BI
Your BI strategy will focus on what the data means to your business and how it can best be used. Are you seeking to improve the customer experience or determine the ideal location for business operations? Or are you looking to uncover trends that can be effectively used maximise business productivity. Once you’ve determined your BI scope, you’ll also need to strategise how you want to measure within the data. This means assessing the key performance indicators (KPIs) used within your industry to determine success.
4. Decide on data sources
Where you source your data – as well as the quality of data sourced – forms an integral part of your BI strategy. Most BI platforms will import data from a data warehouse, however, modern BI allows you to analyse data from multiple sources, such as financial data or customer relationship management (CRM) data. There are also data sources that are categorised as ‘untrusted’ – emails, customer interaction and news snippets among them – but these can be carefully governed for a secure analysis.
5. Create a budget
Discuss pricing with a BI software provider so that you can accurately budget for the implementation of your BI strategy. Remember that most software is priced according to number of users or on a ‘per-module’ basis, so this needs to be clarified upfront. Make sure you do extensive research, ensuring the BI software is suited to your industry and needs. Otherwise, you could be paying for software features that are of no use to your business.
What are the benefits of a BI strategy?
If you’re still unsure why you can’t simply invest in BI software and leave it at that, then here’s a quick overview of the actual benefits of BI strategy to your busines.
1. It saves you time
Understandably, establishing your business strategy, gathering the team and getting everyone on the same page will take some time, it’s well worth it in the long run. The strategy will allow you to implement your BI solution in the shortest, most seamless way possible. Once the strategy is in motion, you’ll immediately begin to reap the time-saving benefits.
2. It saves you money
Investing in BI is money well spent, but it can be even better spent if you’re committed to putting a strategy in place. By deciding on the features ahead of time, you aren’t overspending on unnecessary features, and you’re also able to fully maximise on the BI capabilities. In addition to this, you’re saving money by automating processes that would otherwise take hours to complete.
3. It keeps you competitive
No matter what industry you’re in, if you’ve invested in BI software but haven’t laid out an effective strategy, you can be assured that a competitor has. This is going to immediately put you at a disadvantage as they’re already saving on time and costs related to the implementation. A firm strategy keeps in you in the game.
What to consider when choosing a BI vendor
Finally, you’re convinced that a BI strategy is the best fit for your business, so now all you need is to source the perfect BI vendor with which to partner. Fortunately, we’ve simplified this process for you as well. Here’s what you need to do when choosing your vendor
Submit a Request for Proposal (RFP)
Outline your BI requirements and, using a BI RFP guide, you can submit an RFP to various vendors. This will ensure you’re provided with accurate quotes for your particular BI needs, and you’ll get a feel for the level of service offered by each vendor. An RFP also means there’s no room for error in terms of your feature and capability requirements.
Ask for demos
Most reputable BI suppliers will be able to provide you with demos for their BI software, giving you a practical understanding of what the software can do for your business. You’ll quickly be able to assess whether the platform has the capabilities suited to your business and can actually deliver on advertised features.
Check on training
A reputable BI software supplier will provide you with the option of training so that your BI strategy team is completely equipped with the software know-how to get going once implementation is complete. Training can be in the form of free knowledgebase, help documents, FAQs, forum discussions, video training, live classes and even in-person seminars.
Read More: 6 Business Intelligence Trends
As with any action taken in business, building your BI strategy will ultimately enhance operations and maximise revenue at the end of the day. With the ever-changing business landscape and such uncertainty across all industries, it’s best to leverage business-enhancing actions, such as the implementation of BI strategy, so that you remain competitive.