It is widely accepted that when English Banker, Sir Henry Furnese increased his profits after gathering information way back in the 1800s, the term Business Intelligence was coined.
Imagine you are the captain of a ship that has a broken compass and no way to navigate towards your destination. It is how many businesses operate, and then they lament the fact that their business isn’t ‘going anywhere.’ Business intelligence tools let you know whether your business is on the right track or not.
Business Intelligence is a necessity now as companies cannot survive without gaining critical information about their business. BI analyzes past and current data to predict future trends.
BI combines internal as well as external data to provide various insights to businesses like which product to launch and when, which demographic market to target first, and analyze their marketing efforts. BI acts as a roadmap to lead your business towards success. Thus, just like effective Big Data Analytics Services, BI too provides the roadmap for the businesses to get started but as the businesses progress and reach greater heights the amount of data will be huge and thereafter the effective implementation will require the application of Big Data technology as Business Intelligence. implementation will require the application of Big Data technology as Business Intelligence.
Now that you have understood the importance of business intelligence tools, we shall proceed towards knowing how to implement an effective BI strategy.
Steps to implement a Conducive BI Strategy
Understand that Business Intelligence (BI) will not deliver quick results. Like any other system, you will need to inculcate many changes both into systems and people before you start seeing tangible results. Do not fall into the trap of expecting fast results as if you try to speed-up the process, then there are chances that you will implement the wrong tools in the wrong place.
You will get guaranteed results in BI implementation, and it’s just that the process will be slow and gradual. Integrating BI into your system should be like wine tasting, slow.
You will need to think about the timeliness, relevance, and consistency of the BI project module before going ahead with its implementation.
Have clear objectives
Before implementing a BI strategy, it is essential to know what you want to accomplish. You need to have a clear vision of how your Business Intelligence strategy will impact your business. Your view should be broad enough that anybody can understand it and at the same time it should also be concise enough so that people have detailed road maps to follow.
Ask the question of what tools/strategies do I need to apply so that my business moves up the success ladder?
Analyze the current state of data
Examine your existing data sources and ascertain which sources will help craft a robust BI strategy. Understand that all your data sources won’t prove valuable in your quest towards that perfect BI system. You need to identify the best data sources and take a good hard look to select the best data sources that will prove valuable.
While analyzing the data, you need to evaluate how the data is stored and how it is shared. You might need to innovate and look at new storage options as well as data sharing options.
You also need to state a clear meaning of data sources to make sure that everybody is on the same page. For instance- the term “productivity” will mean different things to different people. To leverage the power of BI systems effectively, you will need to define a clear meaning of productivity to people of all the departments. There must be a shared understanding amongst your employees regarding the terminology in the BI system.
Another excellent example of problems created due to a lack of shared understanding would be the term “gross margin.” As the Sales and finance department calculates gross margin differently, their numbers may not match, creating difficulties.
Also Read: Role of Big Data in Business Success in this Age of Enterprise Mobility
Establish a team of subject matter experts
Once you have defined the current state of data, the next step would be to deploy a competent team of subject matter experts to undertake the process of Business Intelligence implementation. The team should consist of data-driven individuals who come from various departments like finance, marketing, production, customer service, HR, and IT.
Select a champion of BI to lead the team. While assimilating, the team keeps a healthy mix of individuals from different departments. Understand that although the IT team is a vital part of the mix, it should not be a significant part of the BI implementation team.
The IT team depends on inputs from other team members to understand their requirements and build a system that is easy to follow. Hence while building a BI team, you need to include members from various backgrounds so that the IT team can understand the concerns of all the groups in the organization upfront and design a robust system.
The users themselves will be in a better position to identify what data they will need to perform their day-to-day tasks efficiently. Building a separate BI implementation team will enable you to get real, unfiltered feedback about the BI process. This goes a long way in helping to optimize the BI process.
Identify the important KPIs
To implement the BI strategy successfully, you will need to identify the critical KPIs (Key Performance Indicators) so that you can gauge your performance quickly and effectively. Doing this is essential because a KPI will show whether you are progressing on the right track or not. Select KPIs in such a manner that they are aligned with the overall vision of the company. The following would be good examples of KPIs
• Monthly sales
• Sales growth
• Number of new customers added this month
• Organic traffic generated
• Social media traffic
• Cost per lead
• The lifetime value of the customer
While selecting the KPIs, take sufficient care to choose those KPIs that are easy to understand. Understand what value these KPIs bring to the person who will be using them. Do not fuss about making a detailed list of KPIs; instead, concentrate on starting with important KPIs first and then add the KPIs as you progress.
Break the process into phases
By breaking the process of BI implementation into small chunks, you will ensure that you stay on-course. It will also keep the motivation of the members up as they will feel that some progress is being made.
If the BI implementation project is enormous, then you will invariably face issues like delayed deliveries and failed BI tools. To avoid these issues, you should break the project into smaller phases, as then the project stakeholders will meet frequently, and problems if any can be ironed out immediately.
Trial with few KPIs first
Take an experiment with only the critical KPIs and then build the strategy upwards. Gather the feedback from the organization about how well is the BI strategy working with these critical few KPIs. It will save you from headaches that occur when you decide to implement the BI strategy with all the KPIs.
Build a feedback loop
A constant feedback loop has the potential to make or break the project. You should have regular meetings with the stakeholders and analyze the current status of the project; doing this will ensure that the project never goes off-track.
By showcasing the current state of work to various stakeholders, you will eliminate the possibility of errors. As if there are any errors then the stakeholders can point them out immediately and
To wrap up
Any kind of change is not easy, especially if the difference is on a big scale. SAP BI Solution has the potential to change the way people work, and some will love it immediately, while some will be more resistant to change. By taking the above steps, you will ensure that you have a smooth execution of the BI strategy.