The true essence of Business Intelligence lies not in simply implementing the system, but ensuring that it works for your organization.
Here are a few tips that will help you get closer to achieving your business objectives:
- Know the metrics: Not all things are worth measuring. Know the important metrics before considering the systems.
- Involve people: True BI is all about people. Make sure you involve all the stakeholders early in the process.
- Quality over cost: While it’s good to compare products, don’t let cost be the deciding factor. In the long run, the returns from BI are priceless.
- Train early: Make sure your staff gets the right training early on in the process.
- Dry runs: Do not accept any implementation without doing a dry run first and making sure it is serving the purpose.
- Benefit from Cloud: Cloud computing offers powerful ways to harness distributed computing and reduce costs. Leverage it.
- Plan for a rainy day: Disaster recovery plans are essential. Make sure you have a policy in place early on.
- Get involved: The vendor knows the technology, but you know your organization. Get involved throughout the implementation process.
- Automate: Automate as many tasks as you can. Using human resources for repetitive tasks is a waste of time and money.
- Updates: Regular system updates are essential for security and performance. Make sure you have an annual update plan.
- Data quality: Data quality matters the most. Make sure data is being collected using the best practices only.
- Detail level: Do not go overboard with collecting data. Figure out how much detail is enough to achieve you business needs.
- Plan extensively: Do not jump into implementation without having scrutinized your requirements and the system down to the last detail to ensure that they align.
- Integrate: Find ways to integrate Web 2.0 technologies to facilitate data collection and report generation.
- Keep experimenting: The search for the perfect tool never ends. Reward your staff for introducing improvements and new tools.
- Patience: It takes a while for people to pick up BI tools as old habits die hard. Be patient with the work force and give them the time to adapt.
- In transition: If you’re in the middle of an important transition, avoid getting into a BI implementation as it causes fundamental shifts. The ideal team would be when there are no major tasks for the foreseeable future (E.g. Audit, Restructuring etc…)
- Think long term: BI works best when implemented for the long term. Discuss with your vendor and finalize expectations for now and the future. The system should be able to accommodate your growing needs of the future.
- Big data: Big data analytics provides an unprecedented level of insight into business trends. Make use of it.
- Go mobile: Mobility offers greater flexibility and efficiency. Make sure your BI implementation is optimized for mobiles and iPads.
Following these simple yet critical rules will ensure that your BI implementation gives sustained results over the long term.